Spinach Tomato Pasta with Chicken

close-up photo of L. Weal, co-author of The Weal MealWhen I think of pasta, my mind usually goes to spaghetti and meatballs or cheesy lasagna. But sometimes when I’m craving comfort food and don’t want to end up in a carb coma, I go for something like this.  Still comforting but not quite as heavy and sleep-inducing. It’s a good way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken but if I don’t have any, I just chop up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cook them for a few minutes with the sun-dried tomatoes. — L. Weal

3 quarts water
½ tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces spaghetti
34 pound (12 ounces) Roma tomatoes (about 3)
34 bunch (9 ounces) spinach, rinsed well
½ pound rotisserie chicken
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dried basil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

large (5-quart) pot
measuring cups and spoons
cooking spoon
cutting board
chef’s knife
large (12-inch) skillet

1. Bring water and salt to a rapid boil in pot over high heat.
2. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente — about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop Roma tomatoes, spinach, chicken, and sun-dried tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.
4. Drain spaghetti and set aside.
5. Pour 2 tablespoons oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped ingredients, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach begins to wilt — about 4 minutes.
6. Add spaghetti and stir to combine.
7. Garnish with cheese, if using.

• Roma tomatoes are best for this dish because they have few seeds and don’t produce a lot of juice.
• For best flavor, purchase the grated Parmesan found in the dairy case, not the shelf-stable variety stocked in the pasta aisle.
• You can swap out the spaghetti for short pasta, such as ziti or penne.
• Also works as a cold pasta dish — but replace Parmesan with a sprinkle of salt.

30 minutes

4 servings

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