This might be my very favorite pasta dish these days! It is SOOOO delicious! It can be a little bit time-consuming, but it is DEFINITELY worth it! Enjoy!
3 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 avocados, pitted and diced
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
A few dashes of hot sauce
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup fresh basil (about a handful), chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (about a handful), chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.
Scatter the tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat and roast the tomatoes in the hot oven until they burst open and are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Place the bacon on a broiler pan and transfer to the oven along with the tomatoes. Cook until crispy, about 15 minutes.
While the tomatoes and bacon are in the oven, drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook to al dente, according to package directions. When the pasta is ready, reserve a large mug of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot it was cooked in.
While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large skillet with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, then add the chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl and squeeze the juice of the lemon over it, tossing to coat.
When the chicken is finished cooking, add the garlic to the pan, cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle in a few dashes of hot sauce and toss to coat.
In a large serving bowl, mash the cooked tomatoes together with the scallions, then add the reserved pasta water and pasta.
Top the pasta and tomatoes with the chicken, then crumble the cooked bacon over it and toss with the avocado, blue cheese, basil and parsley.
compliments of Rachael Ray