This tasty pasta with chicken from Greta Podleski’s Yum & Yummer is made with an oven-roasted tomato pesto. Cook the chicken, bacon, pasta, peppers, onion and spinach, toss everything with the pesto and top with grated Parmesan.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Grate your own Parmesan and look for nitrate-free bacon.

Quarter tomatoes and wrap garlic in foil before roasting

Combine roasted tomatoes, garlic and other pesto ingredients in food processor and puree.

Roasted tomato pesto

Cook chicken

Cook bacon until crisp

Cook vegetables

Toss chicken, bacon, vegetables, pasta and pesto together and serve


Roasted Tomato Pesto

1½ lbs (680 g) plum tomatoes, quartered

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh basil

1/3 cup (75 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup (60 ml) toasted pine nuts

Chicken Penne Florentine

12 oz (340 g) dried penne

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

4 slices bacon

1 large red pepper, thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

3 small handfuls baby spinach

2 cups (500 ml) sliced or cubed chicken breast

1/3 cup (75 ml) or more roasted tomato pesto

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper for serving


Roasted Tomato Pesto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread tomatoes in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix using your hands. Wrap the garlic in foil and place on plan with tomatoes. Roast for 45 minutes or so, until caramelized. Cool. Add tomatoes and garlic to bowl of food processor along with basil, Parmesan and pine nuts. Whirl while adding remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) of olive oil through the feed tube. Makes ¾ cup (180 ml).

Chicken Penne Florentine

In deep, 12-inch (30-cm), non-stick skillet, cook chicken until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large pot, cook penne according to package directions or until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, cook bacon in the same skillet you used for the chicken. When bacon is done, wipe out pan and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted and water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Add drained pasta to skillet along with chicken and pesto. Toss until all ingredients are coated with pesto; add more pesto if you wish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper before serving. Serves 4.

From Yum & Yummer by Greta Podleski