One of my favorite appetizers is bruschetta, and this dish highlights its delicious flavors in a bowl of pasta that impresses and satisfies. This recipe is perfect for summer because tomatoes are at their ripest and most plentiful. Unlike a heavy and rich bolognese, the sauce is light and won’t leave you feeling weighed down in the heat. This easy-to-make chicken bruschetta pasta will be a favorite all summer long.
When I cook pasta I often use ground beef or turkey for my hearty sauces. However, I decided chicken would be a better fit for this dish. I used a pound of ground chicken, but thinly sliced seared chicken breast would work well too.
This recipe calls for fresh ingredients, so be sure to stop by your grocery store or farmer’s market before you cook. Raw garlic works best, not the stuff pre-minced in the jar. If you saute the garlic first, the jarred version may work; however, I don’t enjoy the flavor of the preservatives used in the non-fresh variety, and you can taste the difference when you are eating the garlic fresh. Also, stick to fresh basil. The dried version won’t substitute as easily in this dish.
As an appetizer, bruschetta is enjoyed on a crostini or sliced fresh bread drizzled with olive oil and toasted. It is easy to make and best served after the flavors have a chance to combine—10 to 15 minutes after you make it. If you want to make extra and serve it as an appetizer, I am sure your family would enjoy it.
While this dish is very easy to make, it does take a little time to prep due to the chopping of tomatoes. The flavor the bruschetta brings to the dish is incredible, but what takes this recipe to the next level is the balsamic reduction. When you reduce balsamic vinegar the acidity cooks away and leaves you with a sweet and robust flavor that perfectly complements the tomatoes, basil, and garlic. These ingredients are made for each other, so please take the extra step and make the reduction!
Chicken Bruschetta Pasta
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 10 fresh basil leaves thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning more if needed
- 1 box spaghetti or linguine or your favorite long pasta
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 16oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to top
Add chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil to a bowl. Stir to mix all ingredients together and season with salt to taste; then set aside.
Bring water to a boil and cook pasta to box instructions minus 2 minutes, making sure to salt your water right before you add the pasta. Before you drain and set aside, reserve one cup of the pasta water. The noodles will be extra al dente but will continue to cook at the end.
While your pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Heat one Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the additional garlic and ground chicken, breaking it into small pieces and seasoning it with the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink.
While your chicken is cooking, heat your balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on medium-low. Let it reduce until it is no longer running and has the consistency of a syrup.
When the chicken is done add the crushed tomato sauce to the pan and season as needed with salt and pepper. Then add the bruschetta and incorporate it into the sauce.
Next, add the pasta noodles to the pan and stir to incorporate. Add some pasta water to the pan, so the noodles can continue to cook and become al dente. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Once the sauce has reduced and the pasta is nicely coated and al dente, it is time to plate. Add the pasta, drizzle the balsamic reduction, and top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
For the pasta, I typically cook one minute less than advised on the box. The pasta will continue to cook when it is incorporated into the sauce, which will ensure it remains al dente.
I also like to time cooking my protein with the pasta so both will be done at the same time. This way I can add the pasta right into the sauce without having to allow it to sit and dry out in the colander.