HI! How was your Halloweekend?? We attended a murder mystery dinner party which was the FUNNEST and are currently doing some dog sitting for our cousins which is the best because their dog is the cutest. We’re also going to Trader Joe’s this week & I’m going to do a haul/favorites post for you guys all about it. I’m super stinking excited because as we all know, I really really really love that place & it’s absolutely devastating that it’s a whole hour away 😭 Also I have so many Reese’s Pumpkins. It’s going to be a good week.
Um, okay, so…that pumpkin in all these pictures is totally misleading. There is no actual pumpkin in this dish. I just threw it in because it was cute and fall-y and orange and everything else was orange and it was just sitting right there and yeah. Do you feel deceived? For the sake of art…it had to be done. Whomp whomp. It would have been more appropriate to scatter the table with tomatoes and red peppers but who thinks ahead like that??
So, folks, what we DO have here today is:
- a creamy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy roasted red pepper & tomato sauce that’s cooked in the CROCKPOT! (win!🙆) Hello, fuss-free happiness.
- penne (delish)
- chicken (also delish)
- massive amounts of freshly grated parmesan cheese (don’t mess with the pre-grated stuff, it’s not nearly as delicious, trust me on this)
This dish was originally inspired by something I saw on Barefoot Contessa – penne alla vecchia bettola – which is penne with a vodka tomato sauce. I made quite a few adjustments to the original recipe and I REALLY love what I created, which is why I’m sharing it with you! Such a hearty, warm, delicious dinner. After the sauce has cooked for 4 hours in the crockpot, all you need to do is blend it up in the blender, add the cream, boil some pasta, cook some chicken, grate some cheese, and boom! Classy weeknight or weekend dinner, no-stress-style.
In the words of Ina Garten, “how easy it that?”
^^ my favorite picture – YUM! ^^
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 t cornstarch
s & p
1 T olive oil
16 oz penne
3/4-1 c freshly grated parmesan
for the sauce:
1 28 oz can San Marzano peeled tomatoes (not San-Marzano style)
1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers in water
1 large yellow onion, roughly diced into large chunks
3 garlic cloves, left whole
1/4 c olive oil
1 1/2 t dried oregano leaves
1 c chicken stock
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 t sugar
1 c heavy cream
Set your crockpot to high. Throw all sauce ingredients into the crockpot except for the cream. Stir around and let cook for 4 hours. Once done cooking, carefully spoon the chunky sauce into the blender, add cream, and blend until smooth. You may have to do this in 2 or 3 batches, depending on how large your blender is. Be careful! You don’t want hot sauce flying all over your kitchen. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions, cutting off just a minute or two of the boiling time to ensure that it doesn’t overcook when combined with the sauce later. Drain in a colander & set aside. Keep the pot!
Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks. Place in a bowl with cornstarch, and some good shakes of salt & pepper. Toss well to evenly coat the chicken pieces. In the same pot you boiled the pasta, pour olive oil in and heat to medium-high heat. Add chicken and let cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until cooked through & lightly golden brown.
Turn heat down to low. Carefully pour the sauce into the pot, and then stir in the pasta. Let cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly & the pasta softens a bit more. Top generously with freshly grated parmesan and serve!