Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
BAKED pasta dishes always seem to put a smile on your face… it must be the sight of a bubbly baked pasta dish with lovely crispy brown melted cheese. This one doesn’t disappoint with its creamy lemon sauce with pieces of chicken and a fantastic aroma of garlic and cheese. It is not only a crowd pleaser but a really easy and tasty family dinner, ready and on the table in no time.
500g penne pasta
2 chicken fillets, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. garlic butter
Rind and juice of 1 ½ lemon
4 sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced
50ml dry white wine
50g grated fresh Parmesan
1 fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
Chopped fresh herbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boil the pasta as per pack instructions, reducing the time by 2 minutes if you prefer your pasta cooked al dente. Reserve 1 tbsp. of the cooking water to add back to the sauce with the pasta. Refresh the pasta under cold water and set aside until needed.
Heat the oil in a large pan and gently sauté the chicken until browned on all sides and cooked through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the white wine and garlic butter. Leave for 1 minute before adding the cream.
Turn the pan down to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, only slightly reducing the sauce. Then add the sun dried tomatoes, lemon rind and juice and stir well.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta making sure that all the pasta is well coated in the sauce. Then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Tip the pasta into an ovenproof dish and place the sliced mozzarella cheese all over the top. Place in a heated grill for 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is browned and the pasta dish is bubbling. Remove and serve immediately.