Penne Pasta with Chicken, Dried Tomatoes, Spinach and Mozzarella

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cubed

1 pound penne or tubular pasta

2 tbsp. Each olive oil, minced shallots

1 tbsp. Minced garlic

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes in juice

12 oil packed dried tomato halves patted dry, julienned

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 bag (1 pound) fresh spinach

1/2 pound smoked or regular mozzarella, diced

salt, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes (optional)

Marinade:  Combine in non-reactive bowl (plastic or glass) 2 tbsp. Each olive oil, fresh basil, 1 tblsp each chopped * fresh chives, *fresh thyme and red onion; 1/2 tsp. Minced garlic; and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss chicken with marinade in bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile heat oil oil over high heat in a 12-inch non-stick skillet.  Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add shallots; cook 30 seconds.  Add garlic and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add white wine to pan; stir, scrapping bottom to loosen caramelized bits.  Add canned tomatoes.  Heat to boil.  Add dried tomatoes and chicken broth.  Lower heat, simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.  Add spinach, stirring until wilted.

Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl.  Add chicken mixture and mozzarella.  Toss until cheese begins to melt.  Season with salt, and pepper to taste.  Serve with red pepper flakes for those that like hot peppers.

 Yields:  8 servings   If using dried herbs use less (I think the conversion is 1 tsp. Of dried for 1 tbsp. Fresh)


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