What’s for Dinner Tonight: A creamy chicken and pasta dish that’s perfect for back to school

With the school year upon us, it’s time to stock up on easy recipes that you don’t have to think about too much.

This creamy chicken pasta with shallot and basil is from “Family Table: Farm Cooking from the Elliott Homestead” by Shaye Elliott (Lyons Press, $24.95). Contributed by Shaye Elliott.

This chicken pasta is from “Family Table: Farm Cooking From the Elliott Homestead” by Shaye Elliott (Lyons Press, $24.95), and although it’s not quite a one-pot dish, it’s easy enough to make while you’re helping kids with homework or unwinding from the day. Omit the peppers, shallots and/or tomatoes if your family is on the picky side.

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Creamy Chicken Pasta With Shallot and Basil

2 tablespoons butter
4 boneless chicken thighs or 2 boneless breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 shallots, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
4 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cream
1 pound fusilli pasta or pasta of choice
2 small tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat butter in a large cast-iron skillet. Add chicken thighs or breasts and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate to cool. Into the hot skillet, add the shallots and bell peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened.

Cut the cooled chicken into strips and place the chicken strips back into the skillet with the shallot and peppers. Add the cream cheese and cream, stirring gently to combine. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

During the last 10 minutes of simmering, boil the pasta in a pot of water until al dente. When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, then add to the skillet. Combine the chicken mixture and the pasta, stir in the diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil and a generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

— From “Family Table: Farm Cooking From the Elliott Homestead” by Shaye Elliott (Lyons Press, $24.95)