This is a favorite at our dining table and the results seem like more effort than actually went into it. Any pasta works for this, though we like it with penne because it restricts the splash issues that come from spaghetti or linguini. Though the recipe does not detail this step, if time allows I recommend marinating the chicken chunks in pesto, chicken broth, or sun-dried tomato paste for a few hours (or overnight) before cooking.
Sun-dried Tomato Mascarpone Cream Sauce with Pasta & Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 cup whole milk or cream
2 cups mascarpone cheese
½ cup semi- or full sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
4 cups dry penne pasta
1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil for the pasta. Do not add the pasta until you have completed step 3 of the recipe.
2. Warm a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Mix the garlic salt, dried basil, and black pepper together in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat each chunk of raw chicken in the mixture then place in the warm olive oil. Do this until all chicken is in the pan or the pan is getting full. Cover for four to five minutes then shift the chicken chunks to cook the other side. Let cook until the other elements are ready to serve, but continue to shift and stir every few minutes and keep the temperature at medium.
3. Bring the milk (or cream) to boil then remove from heat. Turn the heat down to low. Keeping the milk off the heat, whisk in the mascarpone. Put the pot back on the heat but stir frequently.
4. Put the pasta in the boiling water and let cook for recommended time for al denté. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil to the chicken while the pasta is cooking. Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and add the cooked pasta to the mascarpone and milk sauce.
5. Using a solid serving spoon or ladle, serve the pasta in sauce and top with the chicken. Sprinkle extra chopped basil or parmesan on top for garnish. Serve!