Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Rosemary Basil Chicken with Spaghetti 

Sylvana sent this to me last week, and because I'm such a ditz lately I forgot to post it. So here it is, in all its yummy glory!

This is a FAST and EASY recipe that tastes like you slaved over it.

Get a couple chicken breasts, I like the frozen ones but you can use fresh. If they are frozen, defrost them SLIGHTLY. Chicken is way easier to cut when it is still a little frozen. It's more like chopping celery than like chopping over-ripe tomatoes.

While that is defrosting (about two minutes on defrost in the microwave), start a pan of water for the pasta. I chose spaghetti because we had just bought some. You could use any plain pasta. I always put salt and oil in the water. They help heat the water faster, season
the pasta, and they help keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

Heat up another pan. I used my cast iron fry pan, of course. Once it is hot, put in about two tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil (cause you only live once) . While that is heating up chop up the stilll mostly frozen chicken into one inch cubes. You can chop them up however you like.

Make sure that the pan is good and hot before throwing in the chicken. This sears the outside to keep the juices inside, plus it makes it taste better. Start stirring right away to make sure that no side gets over-cooked and all sides get seared fairly evenly.

Once the chicken cubes are fully seared, turn down the heat to about medium. Make sure that there is still moisture in the pan to keep the chicken from getting dry. Add a little water if you have to. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chicken. Grind up half a tablespoon or more of rosemary and throw that in. Add about a tablespoon of basil- or more if you like. Add a couple of big pinches of sea salt (or regular salt, or garlic salt, whatever). I like sea salt because it gives the food a nice flavor. Regular table salt is too harsh for my tastes.

The pasta water should be ready by now. Add the pasta, stir, reduce the heat slightly, and cover. I like to stir the pasta every five minutes to make sure that I don't get the evil pasta clump! Seriously, who wants to try and eat that?

Dice up a few medium sized tomatoes (I used three for this) into thick chunks. Throw them into the chicken pan. I never peel tomatoes. Peeled tomatoes are for wusses. The tomato peels add a nice bright red garnish to the dish. Cook the mix down until the tomatoes make a pseudo sauce. Add a little black pepper if you like. I did.

The pasta should be done, or at least when it is done, drain and add to chicken mix. OR you can do it the lazy Sylvana way- just tong the pasta out of the pan you cooked it in right into the chicken mix pan. What's a little pasta water among friends, eh? Stir the whole thing together. Add a couple handfuls of feta cheese (good stuff, that feta). And serve.

My picture may not look very impressive. I feel that I didn't add enough tomatoes. I used three- medium sized.. Next time, I might use five, or less pasta. Although, my son said that it was the PERFECT sauce to pasta ratio. And my husband said it was fabulous. I thought it was pretty good myself, so maybe I wouldn't change a thing.