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Recipe

Baked Rotini with Chicken, Asparagus, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Servings: 6 to 8

This hearty yet bright pasta dish cooks up even more quickly if you replace the chicken thighs with meat from a store-roasted chicken.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (or leftover or store-bought roasted, preferably mostly dark meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces to yield about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup drained and thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. dried rotini
  • 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

Preparation

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with 1 Tbs. olive oil.
  • If starting with raw chicken, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering hot, about 1 minute, add the chicken, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and a little pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked through and golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If using cooked chicken, use 1 Tbs. olive oil and sauté the chicken in a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven for just a minute to warm it through. Season it lightly with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Using a spatula or wooden spoon, push the chicken to the side. If the pan is dry, add 1 Tbs. oil, and then the garlic and cook until it just starts to sizzle and becomes fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  • Add the chicken broth, cream, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the sauce thickens slightly. Add the sherry vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, and the basil and cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just barely tender. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and cook the pasta until it’s just tender to the tooth, a little less than you normally might because it will cook more in the oven later.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, along with the asparagus. Add half of the Pecorino Romano and half of the mozzarella to the pasta mixture and toss well. Transfer to the baking dish and spread evenly.
  • Top the pasta with the remaining cheeses and the breadcrumbs. Bake until the cheeses are golden brown and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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