Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

I haven't really had time to grocery shop this week, and no, I don't really have a legitimate reason why. It's just been one of those lazy weeks (oh, and it's been around or below 58 degrees for a few days, which means I've been snuggling up in blankets and dreaming of my college days in sunny South Carolina instead of being productive). So, that being said, I wanted an easy, delicious recipe for last night's dinner, and a classic chicken piccata from Giada De Laurentiis fit the bill. Bright, lemony chicken served with warm pasta, drizzled with a light sauce straight from the chicken-sauteing pan makes for a light, delicate meal.

My measurement conversions were a little off, so the recipe didn't yield as much sauce as it normally would, but what sauce I did get was delicious and if you follow the measurements I list below, it'll work out just right

Serves: 4
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

  • 1 lb. (1 box) spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pound them out a bit so they cook more evenly)
  • A dash of salt and pepper
  • Dried lemon peel
  • All-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons; I used bottled juice)
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, rinsed
  • Dry white wine, if desired
  • Dried parsley, to garnish

Mix the salt, pepper, and dried lemon peel into the flour. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat it lightly. In a large saute pan/skillet, melt 2 tbsp. butter with 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, lightly browning both sides and cooking through slightly, then use tongs to remove them and set them aside on a plate.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain and return to pot, drizzle with a little olive oil, and cover with lid to keep warm while the chicken continues to be cooked.
Add the broth, lemon juice, capers, and a splash of dry white wine (about 1-2 tbsp.) to the pan that you used to cook the chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (they add extra flavor). Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Using tongs, place the chicken on a clean plate. Whisk 2 tbsp. butter into the sauce left in the saute pan. Serve the chicken atop the pasta, and ladle the sauce over them. Garnish with parsley. Italian cheese may be added if desired.

This dish is quick and easy, but packed with flavor. The lemon juice and dry white wine add bright acidity to the dish, while the butter and chicken stock add a soft, smooth flavor. Dredging the chicken in seasoned flour creates a delicate coating on the chicken that browns beautifully in the pan. This dish is bright, lemony, and perfect for a cool summer night.

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