Life gets really hectic in the fall. There are days/weeks when I feel like a single mother, last week was one of those weeks. I’m not complaining; we’re just busy. My husband works extremely hard for our family which translates into long hours. Between teaching, coaching, and running a small business; sometimes he’s just not here. On the nights when he is gone, I try to make it special for the kids and I. By special, I mean cook something we don’t usually eat because we know dad doesn’t like it. Enter creamy pasta sauce. The other night we made Chicken Penne Alfredo. It was a classic Alfredo sauce and it was as rich as it was delicious.
As far as the cheese goes, I found a bag of freshly shaved cheese at my grocery store; it was a blend of parmesan, asiago, and romano cheeses. That’s what I used to make this Alfredo. If you’re going to make this dish, I highly recommend finding real parmesan cheese (or a blend like I used), either freshly grated or grate it yourself. Don’t use the stuff in the green can. Please. I beg of you.
Chicken Penne Alfredo
1 lb chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
1 lb Penne Pasta
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
Pepper to taste
1 cup (8 oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese, or a blend of Parmesan, Romano and/or Asiago
Season and grill chicken breasts according to your preference. (Marinating the breasts in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper would be great.) Allow to rest and slice into strips. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and boil pasta according to package directions for al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat butter and cream over low-medium heat in a large sauté pan. Season with pepper to taste. Heat until mixture is just beginning to simmer, stirring sauce occasionally. At this point, turn the heat to low and stir in the cheese until melted, being careful not to overheat or boil the sauce. Drain (and do not rinse) the pasta; toss directly into the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. The sauce will begin to thicken as it cools slightly. Top each portion with sliced chicken breasts or mix them into the sauce with the pasta. Serve and eat immediately.