I have way too many tomatoes right now so I keep using them in recipes. One confession to make: sometimes I end up throwing them into the compost. It’s not my preferred method of using them, but I just have too many for me to get to. So, today after putting in some time at the farm where we get our CSA I learnt that you can freeze tomatoes to use in sauce (ok, I just have never done it, nor thought that it would be that great) but I decided to go the other route— canning. I have bought some mason jars and other supplies. I remember making jam as a kid and preserving it, so if I could do it then, I’ll try it now.
In the meantime (I just bought the stuff today, give me a day or two), I made some salsa on one day and pizza with the tomatoes as base another. I also used some cherry tomatoes in a killer I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-making-for-dinner-now-because-I spent-too-much-time-chatting-on-the-playground-oh-yea-I-can-make-THIS-pasta. (I was going to make chicken gumbo, but that keeps getting pushed back due to time). I used to throw together these great chicken and pasta dishes that are like my version of stir-fry…whatever vegetables I have in stock that actually go together will go into the dish with chicken, garlic, basil and tomatoes. I try to make it with mushrooms, because they’re perfect here, but I had none.
I used a bit of kale, corn, broccoli, onions, zucchini, orange bell pepper, and carrots. Fussili pasta is perfect, but ziti or farfale will go nicely too. It takes 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook (using chicken breast)— if you don’t have to interrupt for looking over kids’ homework or refereeing a squabble.
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes
- Approx 1 pound chicken breast (or thighs), deboned, skinned and cut into 1-2 inch pieces (thighs take longer to cook)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 med onion or 2 shallots
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 large tomatoes, diced
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4-1/3 cup white wine
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- choice of fresh vegetables, chopped (spinach, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers, carrots, corn, kale, chard, snow or snap peas, asparagus and/or mushrooms)
Put pasta on to cook according to instructions. While that’s cooking: sauté onions then garlic in pan. Add chicken and lightly brown on all sides, careful not to burn garlic. Add wine and stock. Cook for few minutes and add vegetables that take longest first (kale, carrots, peppers) then others (mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, corn). While stirring, cook another couple of minutes then add herbs and tomatoes, salt and pepper. Mix gently and cook for 2 minutes until tomatoes are warm but not disintegrated. Toss pasta so well coated with sauce and veggies. Serve.
This is always a winner with my kids. Not everyone will like every vegetable each time, but it hardly ever elicits a protest because there’s pasta. It’s great to get rid of left over vegetables and perfect for lunch the following day. And, it uses up some of those tomatoes.
The tomatoes give it a fresh sweetness that goes so nicely with garlic, basil and pasta. You can also substitute shrimp for the chicken.