Here’s the scenario: Living in a new city. Don’t know that many people. Have challenged myself to cook pasta every day in October to celebrate National Pasta Month. It’s Saturday evening, daughter is babysitting. Everyone else is busy. What to do?

Pick up the phone and dial the number of a delightful person I met at a luncheon for parents of the French Lycee of Chicago. Boldly invite myself to her home by proposing that I grab a few ingredients from my fridge and make dinner. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse, so the next thing I knew, we were enjoying David’s famous Chocolate Cocktail made with Svedka Vodka and chatting like old friends. (David and I are University of Michigan Alum while Robyn and I are Francophiles)


I had planned to make a dish using grilled chicken, tomatoes, a little pancetta, cream and parmesan. Luckily, when Robyn saw me setting up the ingredients, she felt comfortable letting me know that David is lactose intolerant. Plus, it created the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to improvise with ingredients. Quickly I switched gears with a plan to replace the cream with a olive oil and some of the hot pasta water to create a sauce.

IMG_0724Al Dente Pasta with Grilled Chicken, Tomatoes, Pancetta and Parmigiano

serves 3

1/2 bag Al Dente Pasta (any flavor)

12 oz. grilled chicken or leftover roasted chicken

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup sundried tomatoes in oil

1/4 cup pancetta, cubed (optional)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup Parmesan, grated

basil, salt and pepper

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, heat pancetta in olive oil until almost crisp. Add tomatoes, garlic and chicken. Turn heat to low. Put pasta in boiling water. Right before draining the pasta, ladle 1/2 cup of pasta water and add to chicken. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and fresh basil or parsley. Serve with Parmesan.




Al Dente Pasta: Another pasta recipe to enjoy with friends- quick to make and delicious to eat!

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