Pasta Recipe Remix
If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know by now that I miss tomatoes — pizza … salsa … chili ... spaghetti with marinara sauce. I still haven’t found a substitute that totally satisfies this craving, but I have found an alternative pasta dish that I deeply enjoy. On the website, the dish is called Aglio e Olio, but I gave it a name change — Garlic Chicken Pasta — now that I’ve made it my own. So far, I have had this dish three times — each time changing things just a little bit to make it more flavorful and satisfying to my needy and allergic palate. Although the garlic flavor is not overwhelming, it is definitely noticeable so if you don’t love garlic, beware. The original recipe didn't include meat, but I felt like it really needed chicken to make it a more filling meal. I also added red bell pepper for some added flavor, color, and texture. The great thing about this recipe is that it is easily adjustable and adaptable to whatever ingredients you like. Check out the recipe below for my favorite version of this dish:
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- ⅓ cup good (robust) olive oil
- 1 pound cubed boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
- 8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- Italian salad dressing
For the best results: cube and marinate the chicken the night before with Italian salad dressing. (I prefer Wishbone’s Zesty Italian Salad Dressing.)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot or pan large enough to hold the pasta. Saute your chicken until done. Add the garlic and red bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t overcook it; it shouldn’t brown. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
Carefully add the reserved pasta water to the chicken, red pepper, garlic, and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add kosher salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
Add the drained pasta to the chicken and garlic sauce and then toss. Off the heat, add parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.