This was inspired by a Gourmet recipe that involved no cooking of the tomatoes – so you can skip that part and just mix the hot cooked pasta with the fresh tomato mixture and serve. I like the intensity that cooking a bit adds. Either way, only make this with really fresh tomatoes – from the Farmer’s market or the garden. Even heirloom tomatoes from Whole Foods will have been picked too long ago. You can skip the chicken, but the whole thing made for a nice light summer dinner. And you’ll notice that I have yet again snuck in some zucchini – gotta use that stuff up. Audrey liked the pasta, but scraped off the tomatoes and claimed that “the greens stuff” -- the basil -- was a problem because it stuck to the roof of her mouth.
2 chicken breasts, cut into approximately 1 inch strips
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon thyme (or thyme/oregano/marjoram), minced
1 small garlic clove, mashed into a paste with
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 3 lbs. tomatoes, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
2 small zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/ - ¾ lb. capellini pasta
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
Put chicken in a small bowl and toss with olive oil, juice, lemon thyme and some salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
Toss tomatoes in a medium bowl with garlic paste, zucchini, lemon juice, sugar and pepper to taste. Let stand for 10 minutes or so.
Heat a sauté pan (not non-stick) to medium high and add chicken, sautéing until browned and white all the way through. Remove chicken to a plate when cooked. You’ll probably have to do a couple of batches. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Remove the sauté pan from the heat when you finish the chicken, but don’t wash it.
When the water is almost boiling, return the sauté pan to medium high heat and add the tomato mixture. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook the pasta according to directions (should be 3 – 4 minutes), simmering the tomatoes alongside, stirring occasionally. When pasta is al dente, drain it and then toss it in a large bowl with the tomato mixture and the basil. Serve with grated parmesan and chicken placed on top.