Picklesandcake


Fresh-Sauced Gemelli with Artichoke, Feta and Grilled Chicken


I’m a relatively new convert to the fresh sauce revolution and I still can’t believe how easy it is to make. Fresh ingredients never cooked that come together from the heat of the pasta. Fresh flavor at its best. I’ve tried different variations several times including one of my first Pickles and Cake recipe postings. This time around, I was inspired by a batch of beautiful yellow tomatoes and a craving for artichokes. Some grilled chicken on top infused with some complimentary flavors will push this dish over the edge.


The first step is to marinate the chicken. I marinated about a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the following:

Mediterranean Marinade

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grape seed or canola oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp season salt (I used the Tuscan Chicken grinder below)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley – rough chopped


Combine all ingredients in ziplock bag and marinate in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Grill off the chicken on high heat and let it rest. Slice thin just before plating.

(why didn’t I take any photos of the chicken on the grill?!)

Fresh “No-Cook” Tomato Sauce with Artichoke Hearts and Feta

2 Tbsp spring onion
2 Cups deseeded, chopped tomato
1/2 Cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh basil, thyme and parsley
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped Feta

The girls will eat anything I make, as long as I involve them in the cooking experience.


The first step is to pick some fresh herbs. Lillie is a pro at carefully plucking off the basil leaves.


I set Lillie up to deseed the tomatoes. Its important to pull all the seeds and the jelly stuff out of the locule chambers.


She does a great job – this is what they look like once they are cleaned out and cleaned up…


While she was deseeding the golden beauties, I opened a can of baby artichoke hearts.


Then I rolled up an herb ball for easy cutting.


A quick chop to all and we are one step closer.


I chop chop the tomatoes and and throw everything in a bowl.


A quick stir and the sauce is ready to go. Well, ready to sit anyway. It needs to sit on the counter for a few hours for all the flavors to meld.


Boil your favorite stubby pasta and transfer to individual bowls just as the pasta is al dente. I generally use a multigrain penne but I’m a sucker for Barilla’s gemelli and could care less about the extra carbs with a fresh, healthy meal like this. Gemelli is dense and perfect for this type of sauce.


Toss pasta with the sauce. Once the sauce hits the hot pasta the herbs wilt and the garlic mellows. Top with sliced chicken and some feta. Done!

Sadie was starving and finished this entire bowl!


Lillie wolfed down the whole bowl too.


It was a perfect night outside so we set up a little table by the pool.


This was probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in a while. The smokiness of the grilled chicken and the full savory flavor of the fresh sauce – the accent of the feta and texture of the gemelli. Every taste bud was smiling and the kids loved it all.