The best part about pairing Chicken with Pasta is that it’s a great way to stretch the food budget in the ever increasing cost of putting a meal on the family table. It’s a challenge we face more and more.
One day while driving through the countryside (which isn’t far from home – we are about 2 miles from the edge of town) Hubby and I saw a sign that said “Fresh Eggs Ahead.” Wow, we could buy fresh eggs, straight from the farmer. How awesome! Hubby slowed the car as the turnoff came into view. A big sign proudly let us know that the eggs were all organic (I’m assuming they meant the chicken feed as I don’t know of any artificial eggs) and only cost $6.99 a dozen. Are they insane? I can get double-yolk jumbo eggs from the grocery store for $1.99. No fresh eggs in our future.
I will admit, I’ve thought of putting a chicken coup in the side yard next to the vegetable garden. Maybe some day, when we aren’t taking traveling vacations, we might. It’s hard enough to find someone willing to water the garden every day in our absence – I doubt we can find anyone willing to deal with chickens. And then there’s the issue of the cats. We don’t have cats, but the neighbors do. And for whatever reason, their cats like to sleep in the garden. Which is fine, since they also kill rodents. I know this because they place their kills on our back steps – thank you very much.
I love how simple our lives have become. I also love the fact that if I want an amazing supper, I have developed the skills necessary to make whatever we might like in the comfort of my kitchen. The only limitations are cost and availability. Some ingredients are just impossible to come by. Foie Gras can’t be had. Escargot isn’t on the grocery shelves. Even good quality chocolate can pose a problem. But the basics are always available. And it’s all a matter of what you do with what you have. Butter and wine makes everything “fancy”.
Angel Hair Chicken Scampi
1/2 lb Angel Hair Pasta
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 lb thin Chicken Breasts
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
4 Garlic Cloves
1 pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup White Wine
1 Lemon, zested
3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Parsley for garnish
1 Lemon, sliced for garnish
Make the Pasta: Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, according to package instructions or until al dente. Scoop out about a cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. Drain the pasta.
Make the Chicken: Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with the salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest, leaving the fat in the pan.
Make the sauce: Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and lemon juice, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.
Finish the pasta: Add the cooked pasta, lemon zest, parsley, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and toss to combine. If it seems too dry or like the sauce isn’t coating the pasta, stir in some more of the reserved pasta cooking water.
Cut the chicken into slices and toss with the pasta. Serve with extra lemon wedges for squeezing over the scampi.
Broiled Asparagus with Lemon-Tarragon Dressing
1 bunch Asparagus Tips
4 teaspoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Heat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack at about 6 inches from the heat source.
Trim asparagus of any woody ends. Toss the asparagus with 4 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out onto a baking sheet, and broil in the heated oven until the asparagus spears are just tender and begin to turn lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Turn the spears over halfway through cooking.
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Dried Tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
While the spears are cooking, prepare the dressing Peel and finely mince the shallow. Whisking together the lemon juice, shallot, tarragon, mustard, and remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the asparagus is done, place it onto a serving platter and pour the dressing over top.