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Jen's Pasta

Eating out can be detrimental to your waistline. I think everyone can agree on that. We love to eat out but we are almost always conscious of what we eat because (having worked in restaurants) most people have no idea what goes into making your food so delicious.

Jen's Pasta: chicken, sundried tomato, artichoke, asparagus and penne

But another thing most people don't know is that you can often request the kitchen to make you your own creation - in fact a lot of cooks actually like it because it breaks up the monotony and gives them a chance to be a little creative.  Since Jen does not like traditional tomato-based pasta sauces and can't have milk, this was a dish she started to request at Italian places.

sundried tomato, artichoke, asparagus

As nearly always, it's been simplified over time but the basic makeup is very easy and very quick.  Some of it can be pre-made (the chicken) and the rest of the ingredients we always keep in the fridge or pantry.

2-3 servings of any cooked pasta (this is gluten-free penne made from quinoa and buckwheat)
1/2 lb chicken breast (or any other part if you prefer)
1/2 C julienned sundried tomato
1/2 C marinated artichoke hearts
1 small bunch of asparagus (or broccoli works well)
1 C sliced cremini mushrooms (not shown in photos - we were out)
1 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 tsp dry marjoram
1 tsp dry oregano or basil
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a hot pan, brown the salted chicken breasts in a small amount of oil.  Be careful to keep them juicy by not overcooking them.  At the same time, boil the pasta to just underdone and drain the water.

Perfectly cooked chicken breast - still juicy

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate to rest.  Put the butter and 1/2 of the chicken broth in the pan and bring to a boil. Rough chop the chicken breast. Once the broth starts to boil, add the remaining ingredients.  Bring it to a full boil, cooking the pasta to al dente and softening the asparagus. Add the remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil, reducing it by about half.  Serve and garnish.

Cooking the pasta in the broth and butter

The point to the extra broth is in fact to serve it slightly soupy, especially if you use gluten-free pasta which will soak up the extra liquid quickly.  Hope you enjoy!

Jen's Pasta: chicken, sundried tomato, artichoke, asparagus and penne

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Images by MadeForJen


  1. Wow, that pasta dish looks delicious!

  2. oh my goodness. i don't follow a gluten-free diet but I really want to give this recipe a whirl!

    1. This dish can be made with regular pasta - in fact I would try different shapes as well since they each give a different feel. The point is to just make up something that YOU like by using easy to find ingredients and not just tomato sauce :)

  3. love pasta, this was so good too! glad its gluten free for so many reasons. thanks love!

  4. Can't wait to give this pasta recipe a try....looks like heaven!

  5. sounds amazing and will try in my own kitchen but how the heck would you order something like this at a restaurant? do you give them the recipe?

  6. Just tell the waiter. Most Italian restaurants have only tomato-based or cream-based sauces, and if you don't like those you shouldn't despair. Chefs, despite what you might think, love to be able to be a little creative so give them a reason to. I have a post coming up showing another variation served us at a place in NYC.