3/4 pound penne or rigatoni pasta
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 whole medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (25oz) marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into medium cubes
1/4 cup Parmesan shavings, plus more for serving
12 whole basil leaves (chiffonade)
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to cook without stirring for 2 minutes, or until golden. Stir chicken around to brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
3. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions and garlic and stir immediately to start cooking. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden.
4. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, and the water. Stir until the onions and garlic are mixed in, then add the chicken back into the pan. Add the parsley, stir to combine, then allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 7-8 minutes.
5. Make sure the sauce is bubbly and very hot, then gently stir in the mozzarella. Let it sit, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes, until you can see that the mozzarella is very soft.
6. Drain the pasta and pour it onto a platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Immediately sprinkle on 1/4 cup Parmesan shavings (or grated Parmesan.) Pour on the sauce, sprinkle with extra Parmesan and the chiffonade of Basil, and serve immediately!
* NOTE: The mozzarella should be very soft but should still be in visible chunks rather than distributed throughout the sauce. It's better for the chunks to be on the firm side than the falling-apart side! You can always heat it a little more to get the cheese to the consistency you want.
(adapted from Pioneer Woman)