Back in the before times, I used to wander off to Trader Joe's now and again and one of my go-to items that always ended up in my basket was a big jar of sundried tomatoes in oil. Now-me would like to thank then-me for this clever purchase because a small amount of chopped sundried tomato brings a lot of flavor to my meals. But before you decide to wander off because then-you did not pick up a jar, let me hasten to add that there are a lot of ways to pop flavor. Capers, relishes, pickles, roasted peppers, garlic, tomatoes, mustard, ginger, vinegar, and more all do essentially the same thing. Now seems a great time to experiment with how a little of one ingredient can really add to a dish.
This pasta dish kicks things up with one of my favorite spicy seasoning blends (again, pick what makes your heart sing), tangy goat cheese, and the aforementioned chopped tomatoes. Maybe your version ends up being a bit more German-inspired with mustard, capers, and some dill. You get to be the artist in your kitchen. I'm just offering some inspiration here and encouragement to discover what kind of pep you can give your food with just an extra tablespoon or two of something bright.
This pasta dish can be a meal on its own or served alongside garlic bread, a salad, or lightly steamed vegetables. And I really like a glass of chilled wine too. Congratulations! You've mastered another bit of kitchen magic!
- 3 cups broth (you can use water in a pinch, but the flavors are nicer with broth)
- 16 oz. short pasta (I used penne)
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 2 T. finely chopped sundried tomatoes (from a jar of oil-packed tomatoes)
- 1 T. kicked up chicken seasoning
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning>/li>
- 1 c. diced, cooked chicken
- 2 oz. chèvre or cream cheese
In a large, deep skillet, bring the broth to a simmer. Add the pasta, diced canned tomatoes (liquid and all), chopped sundried tomatoes, kicked up chicken seasoning, and Italian seasoning. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, removing the lid and stirring every 3-4 minutes, until the pasta is mostly cooked.
Add the cooked chicken and chèvre to the pasta and stir gently until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the dish. Serve hot.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes