I have a garter snake guarding my garden; it's driving me crazy! Every time I run out there (barefoot, mind you) there he is...lying low in the grass and it never fails...I scream. I wasn't afraid of him until I did a little research and found out he actually does bite and produces venom (not strong enough to hurt a human), but still!
Regardless, today I had to overcome my fears and tiptoe around him so I could quickly grab a handful of parsley for this delicious pasta dish.

Penne Franco
Inspired by Carrabba's Penne Franco
Serves 4

6-8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
2 ounces + 4 ounces, separated (1/4 cup + 1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces (1 1/2 cup) mushrooms, sliced
7 ounces sun-dry tomatoes, minced
28 ounces (2 14-ounce cans) artichoke hearts, quartered
8 ounces (1 cup) kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
4 chicken breast, grilled and sliced (optional)
12-16 ounces Penne pasta
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Grill chicken, if you are using.

In a large pot, boil water. Once boiling, add penne and cook according to package directions. Cook 1 minute less than recommended time.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet add 1/4 cup of olive oil, heat on medium-high. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, saute until tender, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, grilled and sliced chicken, cooked penne pasta and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Toss and heat through. Taste for seasoning, adjust if needed. Add cayenne pepper if you want a little kick.
Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.



Michelle said...

This looks absolutely delicious... so fresh and light!! BTW if it was me and there was a snake in my garden i would abandon the garden!!!! I hate snakes!!! I hope he finds another home soon!

Brownieville Girl said...

This looks really fantastic - I'm full of admiration of the lengths your went to get the parsley - my pasta would have gone herbless!!!

The I's have it--Ivy said...

my mouth is watering and my stomach is growling.... we will have to try this!


Linda said...

I love pasta and your recipe combines some of my favorite ingredients. It was worth braving the snake to create such a delicious dish!

Zia Elle said...

Love your penne, great!!!!

Anonymous said...

This penne sounds terrific! I love the combination of ingredients here and the touch of cayenne pepper is just perfect!

Kim said...

Yikes! I shudder at the thought of a snake in my garden. I would have to send my husband out to deal with it, but I'm a huge scaredy cat that way.
The pasta looks absolutely delicious. I'm loving all that garlic and all the other tasty components.

Gloria said...

Tonya this look fantastic! gloria

Rosabela said...

What a great dish to make during a weeknight! This has all my favourite ingredients. My husband will pick out the olives, though. Oh well.LOL

I don't like snakes either. The give me the ibby jibbies. hehe

Velva said...

This looks like a wonderful hearty dish.
I did not know that garter snakes bite and produce venom...I learn something new everyday. The good thing about garter snakes is that they are not aggressive.

Mary said...

Your photos are always remarkable. This is a perfect and hearty week night meal. It is very nicely done. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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