Bruschetta is really a summertime food, but thanks to a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese, it tastes pretty awesome in the winter too.
My Dad started making this pasta when I was a teenager, probably as a result of something similar he had in a restaurant somewhere. It's always been one of my favorites and has made frequent appearances at birthday dinners. This pasta looks impressive, but is really very easy to make. Plus, all of the prep can be done ahead of time, leaving only the assembly for the last minute.
Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
Invented by Dad. Yes, really!
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette (alternately: 1/4 cup + 2 T olive oil, 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, one clove of minced garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper)
3 eggs worth of homemade pasta, preferably cut to linguine setting.
3-4 roma tomatoes, or 2 medium sized regular tomatoes
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3 T balsamic vinegar, divided
salt & pepper to taste
(all of that is really to taste-- feel free to alter the amounts as you like!)
1. Marinate chicken breasts in balsamic vinaigrette for at least an hour, or up to four hours.
2. Finely dice tomatoes, reserving the juice. Place tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped basil, parmesan, 2 T olive oil, and 1 T balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper. You will want to let this set for at least half an hour to let the flavors blend. You can keep it in the fridge for several hours before dinner, or on the counter for a short time. Just make sure the mixture is at room temperature before you put it on your pasta, or it will make your warm pasta cold :-p.
1. Grill or pan-fry chicken breasts. Heat your pasta water as chicken is almost done. When chicken is cooked through, let it rest on a covered plate while you cook your pasta.
2. As your pasta is cooking, drizzle 1 T olive oil and 1 T balsamic vinegar on the bottom of your serving dish. Place several tablespoons of bruschetta mixture on top.
3. Slice or chop chicken breasts, pouring any accumulated juices into the bruschetta mixture.
4. When pasta is cooked, drain pasta, and place in serving dish. Put about 2/3 of remaining bruschetta mixture on top and drizzle with remaning olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss pasta to combine ingredients.
5. Place sliced chicken breasts and remaning bruschetta mixture on top. Garnish with shredded basil and/or parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.