First let’s start by getting our chicken tenders marinating.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup honey 5 garlic cloves (cut in half)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar 2 TBLS toasted Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 1/4 cup fresh, chopped, flat-leafed parsley
8-10 chicken tenderloins (no bone)
Add all ingredients (except chicken) & (except toasted sesame seeds) to a large zip-lock bag. Squeeze the bag to combine the sugar/honey and liquids together….then add Chicken and refrigerate for 2 hrs.
While the chicken is marinating we can work on making the pasta dish…
Combine the following into a large mixing bowl…(this amount makes 4 – 6 servings)
1 medium eggplant (unpeeled), chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes whole or cut in half
3 whole garlic cloves
3 TBLS Olive Oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly gr. black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or 1 fresh cayenne pepper cut into thin slices)
I added poblano peppers, but I like the flavor of peppers, if you don’t, then you can leave that out. I didn’t list it in the ingredients.
(other ingredients you need that are mixed in later are: 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves & 3 TBLS extra-virgin Olive Oil & 1/4 cup pine nuts)
Mix together in a bowl so all vegetables are coated with the Olive Oil, then spread vegetables on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F. for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and the eggplant has turned golden.
While the vegetables are roasting, spread 1/4 cup pine nuts on a small baking pan and place on the rack just below the vegetables….roast until golden (about 8 minutes). Note: If you’re really ambitious, you can roast the vegetables on an outdoor grill which will add a whole different set of wondeful flavors to this dish!!
Start the Penne pasta by getting some salted water boiling….once boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm. Drain the pasta, but reserve 1 1/2 cups of the boiling liquid. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.
Once the roasted veges have cooled a little, you can add them to a food processor along with 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves & 3 Tbls. extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse the veges until pureed, but not too smooth. you should still be able to see chunks of veges in the mixture.
Mix the pureed mixture with the pasta, adding enough of the reserved liquid to make the mixture saucy. Mix in 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and sprinkle the roasted pine nuts on top.
Cooking the Sesame Chicken:
Place a small amount of Olive Oil in a large frypan, heat….
Remove chicken from bag…reserve the marinade!!
Cook the chicken until just cooked (no pink) … do not overcook….approximately 5 minutes on each side…
While your chicken is cooking, place the marinade in a small saucepan…bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer to thicken (about 15 minutes).
Place cooked chicken on a serving platter, brush each piece with the cooked marinade and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve….Enjoy!
**Recipes adapted from Giada’s Kitchen Cookbook New Italian Favorites …