1 1/2poundsboneless skinless breasts, split in half
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
2cansdiced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano(14.5-ounce cans)
1poundwhole wheat fettuccini pastaor substitute another long, straight pasta such as spaghetti
4ouncesreduced-fat feta cheesedivided
Finely chopped fresh basiloptional
In a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the olive oil over high for 1 minute, then add the chicken breast halves. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Cook the chicken on one side for 8 minutes, moving it around in the pan a little to prevent sticking, but not too much, so that a nice crust will form. Lower the heat as needed if the chicken seems to be cooking too quickly. Flip, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cook for 5 additional minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the diced tomatoes and water. Stir in the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover and let cook an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir, then add three-quarters of the feta. Stir once more, then let cook uncovered for 5 additional minutes. Serve warm, sprinkled with the remaining feta cheese and fresh basil.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave with a light splash of water, chicken stock, or tomato pasta sauce to keep from drying out.