3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small jar (3-4 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, or use 3-4 oz fat-free sun dried tomatoes
1 1b chicken breast tenders salt
a sprinkle of paprika
1 cup half and half
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz penne pasta (or gluten free pasta)
1 tablespoon basil (if using dry basil), if using fresh basil, you can add more
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water
salt, to taste
Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sautéing as described below:
In a large pan, on high heat, sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar - see note above) for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Remove sun-dried tomatoes from the pan, leaving the oil, and add chicken tenders, salted and lightly covered in paprika (for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Reserve some cooked pasta water) Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water
Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller bits and add them back to the skillet with chicken. Add half and half and cheese to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil.
Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. (If the sauce is too thick add some of the reserved pasta water). Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine
Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
Season the pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste
Let simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.