Wednesday, January 29

Weekday Supper Post: Chicken, Broccoli, Lemon & Rigatoni -- delicious!

~weekday supper recipe~
four easy steps to
chicken, broccoli, garlic & rigatoni 
with lemon slices and pine nuts


quick suppers require good organization.
Before you begin, first set your table then slice and cut up your ingredients...
slice the garlic length wise very thin, and remember when following the recipe to toast the garlic lightly, but not too brown because garlic becomes bitter if over browned.  
Ok, I admit I need to come up with a more creative name for this dish, because it is truly one of my family's favorite "go to" recipes.  It is a medley of delicious flavors; wine, garlic, a hint of pine nut, lemon, fresh basil (if you have it in the house and most certainly in the summer months), and well, just a hearty meal.  Tonight, since it's only 18 degrees outside, we had it without a green salad, just with some crusty bread and an herb olive oil dip, a glass of toasty white wine, and we were happy!  Although it is simple to make, it needs to be prepared in shifts so that the chicken is cooked but tender, the broccoli just right and the pasta al dente (Italian's 'to the tooth' perfectly cooked and not overdone pasta).  First, let's digress for a second about pasta.  We Americans tend to over sauce, over cook our pasta, but the Italian way to prepare pasta is finish it up with a little bit of a bite to the consistency of the pasta - then drain it, add it to your sauce and finish cooking for a minute or two so it takes on the flavors.  And, don't over sauce, just enough liquid so it lightly coats the pasta.  

~here's my philosophy for the day ~
"Good pasta is a metaphor for a good life...a little bit of the right proportions and fresh ingredients and it is perfectly balanced...but, don't go overboard, and many times the success relies on good timing".  
1).  First, cut two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cubes and lightly coat with flour, pepper (no salt because salting food makes it sweat and when you want to brown something wait to salt it until it's browned).  Next, pour a generous drizzle of good quality olive oil (I like Greek olive oil from Fairway) into a deep pan and heat well.  When it is smoking add the chicken in one level and brown well on both side.  Immediately take the chicken out of the pan and put on a dish to the side.  This assures your chicken is seared but not overcooked.  
2). In that same pan add a bit more olive oil, heat up again and add the broccoli and sliced garlic till lightly browned (a couple of minutes) until the broccoli is still chewy, add the wine and stir for a minute, then take out broccoli (leave juice of the wine) and put the broccoli with the chicken.  
3). Now, turn up the heat and add 2 cups chicken broth to the wine or sherry, and a palm full of red chili pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.  Cook down for a couple of minutes, then  add two pats of butter (not too much because until this point the dish is a relatively healthy dish).  Cook down until the sauce slightly thickens.  Note:  the left over bits of flour in the pan from the chicken will allow it to thicken ever-so slightly. 
this much red pepper flake for a little kick

after the sauce has slightly thickened add the chicken and broccoli mixture and cook the chicken through for a minute or two while the pasta is finished cooking.
I like the short shape of the Mezzi Rigatoni
4).  Meanwhile, on the other burner you have boiled your water and added 3/4 box of Rigatoni and cook till chewy.   (always salt your water for pasta).  Drain pasta and add one small ladle of the pasta water (only if your sauce has cooked down and needs more liquid) to your sauce, continue stirring and now blend into the pot with the chicken/broccoli, and squeeze the 1/2 lemon (through your hand to keep pits out of the sauce) and add the lemon slices (but not until the last minute or the lemon will get bitter).  Stir on the stove at medium heat stirring the whole time for a minute or two until well heated and blended.  Add sea salt to taste at this time.  Turn off the flame, and add the pine nuts and/or basil.  Serve immediately.  
add crusty bread and dipping olive oil to your table, 
then pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine.
bread from Maison Kaiser, NYC, enough said!
 it doesn't need to be fancy, but it should pretty.
 to make this dipping olive oil: I add
 ed to a small bowl a 1/4 cup or so of good extra virgin olive oil, dash of oregano, dash of herbs de provence, cracked pepper, dash of sea salt, two olives and a couple pine nuts.
two boneless breast of chicken - cut to cubes
5 garlic cloves - sliced extra thin length wise
2 cups broccoli cut into small bites
1/2 pine nuts (previously toasted) or, summer option - 1/2 cup shredded freshly picked basil thrown into the dish as you are serving it.
2 cups chicken broth 
1/2-3/4 cup sherry or white wine
1/2 juice of a fresh lemon
2 slices of lemon cut in half
Sea salt to taste -- I use about 2 dashes
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara