Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicken Piccata Pasta

I'm over winter. I grew up in the desert, where winter was about 3 days long, and when I moved to Indiana I loved the thought of actually have seasons. Still do. But this winter has been a bit taxing. Between Snowpocalypse and some crazy up and down weather, all I want is 50° and sunny. Just for a few days. Please.

My cooking is starting to reflect this want of change. Case in point I grilled steak teriyaki the other night just because I wanted to cook outside. It was cold, windy, and my wife thought I was nuts, but I was set on having a grilled piece of meat.
Where am I going with all of this? As spring sets in and the weather warms, my food starts to reflect the change. The heavy stews and chili of winter gives way to artichokes and brighter dishes. I found this recipe from Rachel Ray and it fit my mood quite well, it was quick enough to assemble on a weeknight and was not a stretch for ingredients considering most vegetables are out of season right now. I really liked it and only tweaked it a tad (RR dishes tend to come out on the high end of liquid so it takes adjustment).

The good news of course, is that the sun is shining and we have 10 days of warm weather coming. Time to start digging in the garden…

Chicken Piccata Pasta (adapted from Rachel Ray)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup chicken broth or stock
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
Chopped or snipped chives, for garnish
Salt and pepper

Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat and add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Brown chicken until lightly colored all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and return the skillet to the heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and shallots to the skillet. Saute and shallots 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook additional 30 seconds.  Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in wine and reduce liquid 1 minute. Whisk lemon juice and broth into sauce. Stir in capers and red pepper flake. When the liquid comes to a bubble, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the sauce to give it a little shine. Add chicken back to the pan and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add parsley, toss hot pasta with chicken and sauce and serve. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Top with fresh snipped chives.