I love this dish so much. I brought leftovers to work for lunch yesterday and I was looking forward to eating them all morning. I’m not going to lie, I may have taken my lunch break earlier than usual because I couldn’t wait. I’m so proud of this sauce, because I started with a can of tomatoes and I just kept adding things to it. It turned out absolutely incredible! I love Parmesan cheese. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but when I go to Italian restaurants I generally unscrew the cap off the cheese shaker rather than sprinkling for 20 minutes to reach my desired amount of cheese. I just want ALL THE CHEESE. The sauce in this dish combines the smoky taste of fire-roasted tomatoes with the sharp, savory Parmesan flavor I adore and the results are mouth-watering.
Zucchini works so well in pasta dishes and since it’s a perfect complement for Parmesan, I knew from the start it would be great in this recipe. Besides adding a Summery feel and delicious flavor to the dish, the zucchini also adds volume and along with the pasta and chicken contributes to making the dish hearty and satisfying. The serving size of 1 ½ cups is very filling and a great use of 8 Weight Watchers Points+ or 324 calories. Though it may look like there are a lot of ingredients, this dish comes together quickly and is perfect for a weeknight meal. Serve it to family or guests or keep it to yourself – it’s sure to be a hit!
8 oz uncooked wheat or high fiber penne (I used Barilla Plus)
14.5 oz can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (if you can only find diced fire-roasted tomatoes, don’t fret! You can pour them in a bowl and break them down in a few seconds using an immersion blender like I did or just toss them in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to smooth them out a bit)
8 oz can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced horizontally into half circles
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup fat free half and half
2 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (I grate mine on the smallest holed side of my box grater)
1.Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2.While the water is boiling for step one, combine the crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, Italian Seasoning, dried basil, lemon juice and crushed red pepper I a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.
3.Pour the tablespoon of oil into a large skillet or saute pan and bring it over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and sear on each side for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook an additional minute until garlic is browned and fragrant. Reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer and pour the tomato sauce mixture over the chicken breasts. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and easy to shred.
4.When the chicken has about 6-7 minutes left to simmer, heat the reserved teaspoon of oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Cook the zucchini for 5-6 minutes or until it softens and starts to brown. Set aside.
5.When the chicken is done simmering, shred the breasts using two forks and stir them back into the sauce. Remove from heat and add the half and half and Parmesan cheese (you may want to reserve a bit of the Parmesan for garnish). Stir in thoroughly until well combined. Add the reserved penne and zucchini to the chicken and stir until coated and combined. Serve garnished with reserved Parmesan and chopped parsley is desired.
Yields 6 (1 ½ cup) servings. WW P+: 8 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 324 calories, 36 g carbs, 8 g fat, 30 g protein, 5 g fiber