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Monday, July 1, 2013

Chicken Piccata with Sauteed Spinach Pasta







This dish was a happy accident.  It was one of those nights where I looked in my fridge and took an inventory.  Some leftover chicken breasts, capers, lemons...so obviously a piccata was calling to be made.  I completely wung this tonight and it came out amaaaaazing.  I love those dishes where I feel like Jim's Italian Grammy or my own Bubby, just throwing things into a pan with little regard for measurements or timers.  I did my best to recreate what I did for you below because this was so good - I even wanted to have a record of it for myself!  I hope I did it justice.  The measurements may be a itsy bit off, but just taste as you go and adjust as necessary.  This is a great recipe for you to try out that practice.  As a cook and a math person, I have a difficult time straying from ratios and the "numbers" of a recipe in general.  I always strive to get better at the "little of this, little of that" method of intuitive cooking so that I can develop more of my very own recipes.  When I do successfully manage it, the meal always tastes even better - yummy success!

Chicken Piccata
serves 3-4

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 lb thinly sliced chicken breasts
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp grated romano cheese
pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers, drained and chopped
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Before you begin, get a pot of water on the stove to boil for your pasta.

In a bowl, combine the flour, romano cheese, and pepper.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture until they are covered, shaking off any excess.  In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of your butter over medium heat.  When hot and beginning to sizzle, add the chicken.  Cook until your chicken is beginning to brown around its edges - about 6 minutes.  Try not to move the chicken too much so that it can sear nicely - just lift one end up occasionally to check on how it is looking.  Flip the chicken over and do the same - about another 6 minutes.  You don't want to eat raw chicken, but you don't want to eat dry and chewy chicken either.  I always let the chicken rest for five minutes after removing from the pan and then make a small incision into my fattest piece to make sure it is perfectly white inside.  After you remove the chicken to a plate, lower the heat and add your garlic and capers.  Stir constantly for about 2 minutes and then add your chicken broth a little bit at a time, stirring up the browned bits on the bottom of your pan.  Add the lemon juice and bring the sauce back to a simmer.  Let reduce for about 15 minutes or so on medium-low heat (the key is you want there to be enough sauce left for your pasta, but you don't want it to taste just like the chicken broth - taste it occasionally and it is ready when all the flavors taste balanced to you.)  Then add the remaining tablespoon of butter and incorporate it into your sauce.  Bring the heat down to low so the sauce is at a low simmer and return your chicken back to the pan with any juices that accumulated on the plate.  Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Sauteed Spinach Pasta

1 14 oz box of your favorite pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot or 1/2 a large one, diced
10 oz. baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated romano cheese plus more to taste after serving

Cook your pasta as directed.  Meanwhile, put the olive oil, garlic, and shallots in a medium pot over medium-low heat.  Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the spinach with a healthy pinch of salt and a few cranks of a pepper mill and stir until the spinach is wilted.  Remove from the heat.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to the pot with the spinach along with the butter.  Stir together until the butter is melted, and then add the piccata sauce (reserving enough for spooning over your chicken after plating) as well as the romano cheese.  Combine well and serve with your chicken,

Hyper Smash

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