Whole Grain Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Marinated Chicken Breast and Pesto

It’s a classic flavor combination of tomatoes, basil, and chicken. Try using diced seeded heirloom tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes for variety. Grilled meaty fish would also be good with this.

3 1/8 pounds Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
16 cloves garlic, minced
16 sprigs fresh thyme
6 1/4 cups broccoli florets
6 1/4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups basil pesto
  1. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  2. Marinate the chicken with half of the garlic, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and several sprigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. At service, mark the chicken on the grill. Cook until slightly underdone. Slice it into strips.

For each serving, to order:

  1. Reheat about 1 cup pasta in simmering water.
  2. In a saute pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil and a large pinch of garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add 1/4 cup broccoli and 1/4 cup tomatoes and cook to heat through, until broccoli is crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and add it to the vegetables with 2 ounces chicken and about 1 ounce pesto. Add some pasta cooking water to thin the sauce as needed.
  5. Heat through and plate. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme.