When I visited Chicago last year my friend took me to an Italian restaurant where I ate the BEST pasta dish I’ve ever had. Each bite was smothered in the creamiest most decadent blush sauce. The ingredients were top knotch too... I’m talking BIG strips of chicken, homemade rigatoni and tons of flavor coming from the sun-drieds and artichokes.
To say it was "good" would an injustice. I have been craving this meal for almost a year now and considering I have no flights to Chicago on the books (yet) I figured I better get to recreating this on my own. It took a few tries but I finally nailed it!
Low and behold my take on my favorite pasta meal ever... Chicken, Sun-dried and Artichoke Rigatoni in a Prosecco Tomato Cream Reduction. Try it. Love it. You’re welcome.
Chicken Sun-dried & Artichoke Rigatoni in a Prosecco Tomato Cream Reduction
4 servings | 30 minutes
8 oz rigatoni pasta
2 large shallots, diced
12-16 oz chicken breast, cut into 3-4oz tender portions (you can leave as full breasts but this will increase the cooking time for the chicken)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup half and half
1 cup good quality tomato sauce (I used #Raos but any type you like would work or even your own favorite recipe)
1/2 cup prosecco (I used #lamarca because that's what I like to drink but any prosecco would work and if you're not into prosecco you could try champagne, a dry white wine or leave it out entirely!)
1-2 oz sun-dried tomatoes (depending on how much sun-dried flavor you like)
2 cans artichokes, drained and quartered (~500g)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, for topping
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once the water boils, generously salt the water and stir in rigatoni, cooking according to box. Note: when straining the pasta reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later.
While the pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and season skillet with salt.
Add chicken tenders to the pan in a single layer and season face up side with more salt.
Allow to cook until browned on first side, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip chicken over and allow to cook for another 3 minutes or until completely cooked through (cooked chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F).
Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate to rest, cover the plate loosely with tin foil.
Turn heat on the skillet down to low. Add Prosecco to the pan and use a wooden spoon to deglaze it. Add chopped shallots and whisk in the half and half. Cover and allow to reduce for 5 minutes.
Stir in minced garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant.
Pour the reduced sauce, garlic and shallots into a blender. Add the cup of tomato sauce as well. Blend until combined but not entirely smooth, sauce consistency is really a personal preference. If you want it smoother, blend more or less if you want more chunks.
Return the blended sauce along with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and rigatoni to the pan. Pour 1/4-1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water into the blender. Swish it around to get any remaining sauce out of the blender and pour it into to the pan.
Slice chicken into 1/2" strips and add to the pan along with any juices on the plate.
Cover and allow the dish to cook on low for about 5 or so minutes to let all those flavors party together a bit.
Just before serving, stir in fresh basil and season with extra salt and fresh cracked pepper, as needed.
Serve hot topped with fresh basil and fresh parmesan!
Now I know you are all curious about the original meal as well. WELL the original meal was consumed in Chicago, IL at this cozy little italian restaurant called Sapori Trattoria. The infamous dish was called the "Pennette Cardinale" and is described as: Penne pasta served with marinated artichokes, chicken, shallots and sun-dried tomatoes in a white wine tomato cream reduction sauce. Yes, I'm drooling writing this so I guess I'll have to go recreate this again next weekend but for now please enjoy a visual, below.
When I ordered this in the restaurant I subbed the penne for their homemade rigatoni (GOOD choice) so I kept that pasta type in my version. I also opted for Prosecco instead of white wine because I felt I brought a deeper flavor to the dish and also brought an excuse to enjoy a glass of Prosecco with a splash of elderflower on top with dinner, if you haven't tried this drink before, I highly recommend!
I don't know about you but valentines day is just around the corner, and there's nothing that says "I love you" quite like a bottle of Prosecco and this creamy plate of rigatoni.