Basil Chicken and Pasta with Roma Tomatoes
“40 Roma Tomatoes” recipe
by DeAnna and Dave LeVasseur
Last revised 3-Sep-23 (added photo collage)
This recipe yields a very light red sauce, not nearly as thick as a traditional marinara. The use of the juice from the black olives is key for this.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
2-4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano, divided (or more, to taste. We use more than 4 sometimes)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
25 to 30 Roma tomatoes, diced (we buy up to 40 to make sure we have enough “good” ones)
2 pounds chicken breast, diced into 1/2 -inch pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 cups chicken broth (or less, as needed. See below.)
2 (10-ounce) cans sliced black pitted olives, with juice
2 pounds gemelli, rotini or radiatore (our favorite) pasta or any pasta with enough surface area to hold a lot of sauce)
Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and sauté half of the crushed garlic in the oil along with 1 teaspoon basil and 1 teaspoon oregano. Add the tomatoes, a cup at a time, to the skillet. Once all the tomatoes are in the pan, allow them to reduce by a fourth. Add some of the chicken broth if the mixture becomes too dry. The tomato pieces should be fully cooked by the time the reduction has occurred.
In a separate pan, cook the chicken with remaining oil, crushed garlic, basil, and oregano. Cook until chicken is brown. Set the pan aside but do not discard any liquid that may be in the pan.
Once the tomato broth mixture has reduced, add the chicken, chicken broth and juice from the olives to the pan and allow it to continue to cook. In total, the tomato mixture will cook for approximately 1 hour. You can use less than 3 cups of broth if desired or you don’t have time to allow the sauce to reduce. In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil in order to cook the pasta. Add salt and the pasta and cook until al dente or approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander and place in a large bowl. Add the finished tomato and chicken sauce to the pasta mix and serve. Note: Keep an eye on the reduction process, if it is reducing too quickly add a little water.
Serve with fresh grated Romano or flaked Parmesan cheese and sliced black olives. Serves 6-8.