Bow Ties with Chicken and Cranberries

Serves 6

12 oz. Bow Tie pasta, uncooked
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup cranberry liqueur or port wine
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup sliced shallots or chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
Chopped fresh thyme or parsley (optional)

Combine cranberries and liqueur in a small microwave safe bowl. Cook in microwave oven at high power 50 seconds or until hot. Let stand while preparing pasta and chicken.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet. Add shallots; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine flour, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a plastic or paper bag. Add chicken; shake to coat. Add chicken and any remaining flour mixture to skillet; cook 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add broth to skillet; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer uncovered 5 to 6 minutes or until sauce thicken slightly and chicken is cooked through.

Drain cranberries; stir into sauce. Drain pasta; return to pot. Add chicken mixture, tossing well. Sprinkle with thyme, if desired.

Variation: Add 3 cups cut fresh asparagus (1-inch pieces) to pasta cooking water during last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain pasta and asparagus; toss with chicken mixture.