Pasta is one of my go to meals. Nearly everyone loves it, you can create a variety of sauces, you can use it as a main or a side, and best of all – it is super quick. One of my favorite ways to have pasta is just fettuccine coated with garlic butter and topped with black pepper and a sprinkle of Parmesan. It takes ten minutes.
This Chicken and Fettuccine with creamy basil sauce is not quite that quick but almost. The sauce is basically cream cheese, fresh basil, and a touch of garlic. The chicken breast only takes 15 minutes or so to cook or grill, and the pasta cooks in 10. Serve it with a salad, a warm baguette, and in season fruit and that, my friends, is all you need for a fantastic meal. Other than a glass of wine. I’d suggest a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. My personal choice is Oyster Bay Chardonnay, a New Zealand white with Meyer lemon and tangerine flavors. It is somewhat dry and cuts through the richness of the sauce nicely. If you are going with the Sauvignon try the Chateau Ste Michel, Horse Heaven Vinyard (2010). It’s also citrus-y with grapefruit, lime, and a little melon-y sweetness. It is crisp and also will compliment the rich sauce.
If you are grilling on the weekend go ahead and grill your chicken breasts ahead of time. It will cut down on what you have to do when you are cooking dinner.
It is important, vitally important that you don’t rinse pasta after cooking and that you don’t add oil to the water OR butter to the pasta except as a sauce. Why? Well the starch grabs the sauce and holds on for dear life. You get much more flavor. If you remove the starch by rinsing or coating it with oil then the sauce won’t merge with the pasta as well and you’ll lose flavor. Another little trick is to add about 1/4 cup of pasta water to your sauce just as you finish it.
I got the idea for this from Philadelphia Cream Cheese. They have come out with a variety of cream cheese mixtures t make it easy to cook with the cream cheese. I just preferred to do it myself this time. If you want to save time you can use the Gourmet Garden tubes. You’ll find them in the produce section – I use them a lot.