pizza making last week. Rather than let it sit in the back of my refrigerator till it was past the point of healthy use, I decided to figure out a way to incorporate into my dinner. What goes better with ricotta cheese than tomatoes, I thought. I didn't want to make an entire lasagna, of course, but I figured I could make a simple pasta sauce with flavors reminiscent of lasagna. Toss the chicken in and boil up some pasta, and I'd have myself a meal. The rest of the ingredients were all things I had on hand so it didn't take long to make this simple dinner. A whole lot easier than making a lasagna from scratch, this sauce could easily be made with ground meat or spinach, depending on what type of lasagna you like. Cutting the chicken into small pieces makes it cook a lot faster so the whole meal is done in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.
Chicken, Tomato and Ricotta Pasta Sauce (serves 4)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 x 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta
- 8-12 oz penne pasta
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Saute shallot for a few minutes to soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add chicken and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Cook until chicken is almost cooked through (it will continue cooking in the sauce).
Add thyme, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and both cans of tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Simmer until sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes. Remove thyme stems.
Turn heat off and stir in ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and toss with hot sauce.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
For a printable recipe click here