One of my absolute favorite foods is pasta with cream sauce. I will 100% go to a fancy Italian restaurant with dozens of authentic, delicious, farm to table dishes and be that person who orders Fettuccine Alfredo. I will order anything that claims to be "three cheese." I will use bread to mop up all the extra creamy sauce on my dish. I love it all-gnocchi, tortellini, parma rosa, the before mentioned Alfredo sauce.
The problem is, as I get older, I've (sadly) gotten wiser. I do silly things like run for exercise and say no to things I don't want to do and listen to my body about things that I eat that make me feel like crap. Which means I really really really limit both dairy and gluten. The key elements to my pasta with cream sauce love.
Luckily, this growing older has also taught me to embrace things I love, one of which is cooking and coming up with recipes. This past year, I've really worked at taking meals we love and turning them into things that are Whole 30 compliant. This creamy tomato and chicken dish is both dairy free and grain free but creamy and decadent tasting.
(It's also basically one pot, which means less clean up, thank-you-Jesus-and-the-universe, we could all use less time doing dishes, can I get an Amen?)
Cast of Characters:
Tomatoes, chicken, olive oil, chicken stock, coconut cream and tapioca flour are the base of this dish. Fresh basil and rosemary, plus garlic and onions give this dish a ton of flavor. Salt and pepper, of course, plus a little crushed red pepper for a tiny kick.
First we're going to roast a spaghetti squash to serve all this creaminess over.
While the squash is roasting, we brown the chicken in olive oil.
Once the chicken is cooked up, set it aside. Add a little more oil and the onions to the pan and brown them. Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Finally, add the tomatoes. Cook it all up. Your kitchen is starting to smell divine.
We add the broth and bring everything to a boil and then simmer it all together. Toss in that basil and the rosemary. And the key to the creaminess: coconut cream and a little tapioca starch diluted in water. We season everything with salt and pepper and add that kick of red pepper flakes. Add the chicken back in and warm everything up. Now your kitchen smells like Italian heaven (and if you're having a dinner party this is when your guests should show up and shower you with praise like "It smells so good in here!" and there is dinner all in one pot with nary a dish to wash and you feeling all chef like! *Praise hands*).
Run a fork through that spaghetti squash to make "noodles". Top that squash with a piece of chicken and creamy tomatoes. Eat, enjoy, and don't feel a bit guilty.
Creamy Tomatoes and Chicken Over Spaghetti Squash
2 Tbsp chopped basil
1/2 Tbsp chopped rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 lbs of fresh tomatoes, chopped OR 1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
2 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp of tapioca flour*, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of cold water
Big Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste.
1 large spaghetti squash
*Tapioca flour can be found in the "health food " section in most grocery stores. This part is OPTIONAL. It makes the sauce a little thicker/creamier, but if you can't find it don't worry about it!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place on a rimmed cookie sheet, cut side up. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until flesh is soft (if you can stick a fork in it with little resistance, it's ready).
While the squash is roasting, make your sauce. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper, and when the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chicken to the pan. Cook for about 7 minutes, each side, until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through. Remove from the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate; leave the brown juices in the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium and return the pan to the burner. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Add the onions to the pan and cooking until soft and slightly brown. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chopped herbs and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the coconut cream and 2 Tbsp of the dissolved tapioca starch, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add in the crushed red pepper flakes. If you'd like the sauce a little thicker, add more of the dissolved tapioca starch, 1 Tbsp at a time until desired thickness is achieved. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer another 5-7 minutes to warm the chicken.
Shredded the spaghetti squash with a fork. Serve the chicken and sauce over the spaghetti squash.