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Pasta with Vodka Sauce & Chicken

Pasta with Vodka Sauce & Chicken

Not every meal can be made with fresh ingredients, although probably our European counterparts might argue otherwise, especially the French.  But then again, this from a country where even ordinary people have 4 weeks vacation and probably don’t work till 6 or 7:00pm every night.  So since we Americans like to work so much, we have to compensate by making up the time somewhere else, like preparing the evening meal.  Of course here in NYC where people routinely work late, they just don’t bother to cook;  You can hardly find a kitchen in The City that doesn’t have a drawer, box or folder full of take-out menus!  Anyway, this recipe is for those times when getting dinner on the table quickly is a necessity.   Paired with some pan-steamed broccoli, this makes a lovely weeknight meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb penne rigate (or any lined pasta) cooked per pkg directions

1 24 oz jar of Vodka Sauce

1 TBS olive oil

1 pkg (2 breasts) of garlic marinated chicken breasts**

1 TBS basting oil*

1 TBS butter

4 tsp shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

* Basting oil (Wegman’s) can be made by adding garlic powder, thyme and parsley to canola oil

** Wegman’s sells the chicken breasts already marinated, you can do so the night before in some  olive oil, garlic, lemon juice.  Forget the fennel unless you have some.

DIRECTIONS:

Simmer sauce on low in small saucepan.

Heat olive oil in large pan on MEDIUM-HIGH, until oil fairly smokes;  add chicken. Turn over when chicken changes color one-quarter of way up and seared side has turned paper-bag brown, 3-4 minutes.  Reduce heat to MEDIUM; cook chicken 10-12 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°.

Add basting oil and butter to pan; swirl.  Baste chicken with spoon, 1-3 minutes. Transfer to clean platter. 

Toss pasta with warm sauce. Divide evenly on 6 plates, top with sliced chicken. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.  I used a platter (family style).

Recipe from Wegman’s Menu magazine

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You just never know where you’ll find a good recipe!  

Yesterday, Rob, a friend in my office was scrolling through the Food Network website looking for a recipe that might catch his eye and whet his appetite enough to be inspired to cook that evening.  Actually I’m learning that he cooks A LOT!  Pretty cool huh?  Well we have this little triangle of foodies/cooks and we sit near each other and nothing beats boredom than discussing what we cook, where we shop for food and where we dine.  

So Rob found this recipe and he said it looked good, it looked simple and he had most of the ingredients already at home.  He flashed around a photo of the finished dish and Elinor and I agreed this sounded like a winner.  Elinor did think that the dish would be better if bone-in skin-on chicken thighs were used rather than the chicken breasts as indicated in the recipe.  That brought on a whole discussion of the the health benefits (or not) of the different cuts of chicken.  Too bad Rob hadn’t found the recipe the day before because the recipe called for fresh Rosemary sprigs and Elinor was quite willing to barter some sprigs for a chicken thigh!  

Flash forward to today – this morning I emailed Rob asking him for the recipe thinking it would make a great weekend dinner.  He sent it to me.  When I got to the office around 1:30 this afternoon he and Elinor were having lunch in Town Square – our lunch area.  I joined them with my container of soup and found out that Elinor was dining on a chicken breast (uh huh, yesterday she said she didn’t like them at all) but then you know what they say,” beggars can’t be choosers”.  That is NOT to imply that she was begging;  Actually I would have to own up to casting a glance at her and the chicken and was rewarded with a bite of the chicken and a mushroom!   It was really tasty!  More talk about what parts to use and I concluded using some chicken thighs and chicken breasts, some skin on and some not would work for Peter and me.  I can’t wait to make it.  Going to use my braising pan (Really I can’t sing the praises of that kitchen tool enough).

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

SKILLET ROSEMARY CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

3/4 lb. small red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered if large

Kosher salt

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 1 TBS leaves

1 clove garlic, smashed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed, halves reserved)

2 TBS olive oil

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, (6-8 oz each)

10 oz cremini mushrooms, halved

DIRECTIONS

Preheat  oven to 450°

Cover potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water.  Bring to a boil over MED-HI and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.  

Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 tsp salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife.  Transfer the paste to a bowl.  Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil.  Add the chicken and turn to coat.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over MED-HI heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes.  Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.

Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast uncovered until chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 -25 minutes. 

Recipe is from Television Food Network

 

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