On some nights, warm cooked tender chicken tenderloins, moist slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, hearty mushrooms and basil with and a hefty bowl of pasta is a nice way to finish off the day.
It may have been that I haven’t eaten pasta in a little while, but without a doubt this by far has been the most flavourful pasta I have eaten in a long time. incredibly so as his is quite simple to put together. The secret is in that there are so many good ingredients in this dish each one adding interest to each bite.
Without a doubt using good quality in-season ripe sweet tomatoes is important for this dish. The tomatoes are dressed in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper are slow-roasted and burst open when the heat inside builds-up, caramelize and taste sweet and moist making the perfect pasta sauce.
Although it is winter in south-east Queensland, and tomatoes are a summer fruiting plant my vegetable garden is strategically located where it captures the sun for eight hours loing enough for the sunshine to do its magic. This has been the recipe for some prolific cherry tomatoes ripening mid July.
There are two other key ingredients. Basil, aromatic with the scent of pepper, anise and mint. The taste is sweet yet savory. Rocket is quite distinguished in taste with a fresh and intense aroma with a slight peppery and pleasant taste.
They are torn and stirred through the warm pasta to wilt and add that unmistakeably fresh taste to the dish.
Don’t be afraid to use the whole bunch of herbs they wilt and shrink in size substantially.
Cooking Time 20 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Serves 4 generous serves
1 punnet or 400g medium to small cherry tomatoes
400g penne pasta
4 garlic cloves
500g chicken tenderloins each cut lengthwise into two smaller pieces
1 bunch basil
1 bunch rocket
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk or cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
Slow-roast the Cherry Tomatoes
Place the cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano onto a roasting dish.
Roast for 30 minutes in a medium heat setting fan forced oven approximately at 150 degree Celsius.
Make the Sauce and Pasta
While the tomatoes are roasting, boil the pasta as per packet instructions until just before al-dente ready.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to rest.
Slightly oil your pan and cook the cut tenderloins till they have cooked through and have a nice colour on each side. Remove from heat, set aside.
Add the remainder of your olive oil, add garlic and half the chilli flakes. Let them sizzle for a little ensure they don’t burn or change colour.
Sautee the mushrooms, next stir through the pasta to ensure they are coated well with garlic, chilli, mushrooms and olive oil. Throw in your herbs, tomatoes and tenderloins. Decrease the heat to medium, pour and stir through the milk or cream.
Sprinkle extra chilli flakes and serve with grated parmesan.