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Pasta is taken to a new level with this recipe for Chicken Penne Pasta with vodka sauce. Quick Tip: Marinate and grill the chicken the day before for an effortless dinner party. Need tips on what to buy and how to cook?!

Check out the First Kitchen DVD here!

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Chicken Penne Pasta

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Makes 4 - 6 servings

12 ounces grilled, marinated chicken breast, cut up
(see Do Ahead recipe below)

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and juice
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/3 cup vodka
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
½ tsp dried oregano
Salt to taste
12 ounces penne pasta (try whole wheat!)
Parmesan cheese for topping

Sauté mushrooms and garlic in large sauce pan until slightly soft.  Add crushed red chilies, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vodka, basil, and oregano.  Simmer ingredients 5-10 minutes; add grilled chicken and heat through.  Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions (about 10 minutes).  Drain the pasta and return to kettle.  Add sauce mixture to pasta and toss.  Season with salt to taste.  Top with parmesan grated cheese.

Do ahead:
Grilled Chicken Breasts
2 breasts (6 ounces each)

To see step-by-step how to marinate and grill chicken breasts, follow the easy directions in the First Kitchen DVD
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small clove of garlic finely chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

Mix lemon juice, oil and garlic in shallow glass or plastic dish.  Place chicken in marinade, turn chicken to coat with marinade.  Refrigerate 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the portable grill about 5 minutes.
When the grill is hot, remove chicken from marinade, discard marinade and place the chicken on grill and cook about 5 minutes. Turn chicken over and grill another 3 minutes or until the juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.  

Safety Tip:
When cooking chicken make sure to use a separate plates and cutting boards for the raw chicken and the cooked chicken and other ingredients.

When preparing ahead of time, refrigerate cooked chicken until ready to use.