Chicken Mozzarella Pasta

  • Preparation Time5 mins
  • Cooking Time10 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
1 pound penne or rigatoni
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely diced
One 25-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into medium cubes
1/4 cup Parmesan shavings, plus grated Parmesan, for serving
12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to cook, without stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir the chicken around to brown it on all sides. Remove to a plate.

3. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the garlic and onions and stir immediately to start cooking. Cook until the onions are deep golden, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the marinara sauce, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup water. Stir until the onions and garlic are mixed in, then add the chicken back into the skillet. Add the parsley and stir to combine, then allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes.

5. Make sure the sauce is bubbly and very hot, then gently stir in the mozzarella. Let it sit, undisturbed, until you can see that the mozzarella is very soft, 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Drain the pasta and pour it onto a platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Immediately sprinkle on the Parmesan shavings. Pour on the sauce, sprinkle with extra Parmesan and the chiffonade of basil and serve immediately.

Note: The mozzarella should be very soft, but should still be in visible chunks rather than distributed throughout the sauce. It's better for the chunks to be on the firm side than the falling-apart side! You can always heat it a little more to get the cheese to the consistency you want.

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