Thursday, January 15, 2009

Penne with Chicken, Fennel & Pine Nuts


  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 6 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 TB chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 TB pine nuts (I add a lot more)
  • 10 oz penne pasta
  • shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until hot but not smoking over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Start heating a large pot of water to boiling for the pasta. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the fennel to the onion mixture, stirring to coat. Stir in the orange juice and zest. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, basil, salt and cayenne and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. In a cup, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water, stir to blend, and stir into the fennel mixture. Add the chicken and pine nuts, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute longer.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the penne in the boiling water until just tender. Drain well. Transfer the chicken mixture to a large bowl, add the penne, and toss to combine. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
  5. Serves 4

NOTE: This recipe has a lot of steps but it is worth it! Chop all of the ingredients, then start fixing the meal. It will come together much quicker that way.

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