Friday, August 26, 2005

Rosemary Basil Chicken with Spaghetti

Here is another of my recipes. I actually just made it up, like off the top of my head, about an hour ago. We just got back from the grocery store and needed something for dinner fast before SSB had to go to work. We had just bought a big bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast from Sam's Club Tuesday so I grabbed a couple breasts- CHICKEN BREASTS, (geez! you juveniles ;) and defrosted them. If I am going to chop up the chicken, like I was intending to do with this dish, I only defrost them enough to take the edge off. I still want them frozen to make the cutting up easy. It's more like chopping celery than like chopping over-ripe tomatoes.

While that was defrosting (about two minutes on defrost in the microwave), I started 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.

I heated up another pan, my cast iron fry pan, of course. Once it was hot, I put in about two tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil (cause you only live once) . While that was heating up I chopped up the stilll mostly frozen chicken into one inch cubes. You can chop them up however you like. I made sure that the pan was 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 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. I would highly recommend getting sea salt. Don't go to a hoity-toity shop for it though. Go to an Asian market. You can get a couple pounds of the stuff for about $1, at least that's what I pay for mine.

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 some of the tomatoes out of your garden 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 psuedo 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.

BTW- I know that this doesn't contain any zucchini, but I didn't want to go overboard with a new idea. I think though, after tasting it, you could add some chopped zucchini in this. I would add it maybe at the end of searing the chicken to sear it as well, but not over-cook it. You could also add it with the tomatoes if you like it firm, but somehow, I just don't think it would be as satisfying.


Sandy said...

I make something very similiar. I use garlic,onion,zuchini,tomatoes and spinach. Then I toss the spaghetti in and then top with feta and black olives. Yummy!

Hayden said...

Hi Sylvana,
I made this dish on a date tonight and it came out wonderfully. It was especially nice because I recently bought a rosemary plant and a basil plant, so I was looking for a way to incorporate them into a meal. Also, do you have advice for caring for the plants -- water and sunlight -- in this climate? (I live in Chicago.) A suggestion: I enjoyed your story way of presenting it but I'd also list all the ingredients and steps at the bottom of the post for clarity. Thanks for the suggestion!

Sylvana said...

Sandy, yummy black olives!

Hayden welcome to my blog! It is always great to hear feedback on my recipes. I think eating good food is essential to leading a good life.

I thought about presenting the traditional recipe format as well, but figured that people could just write it down for themselves. I will reconsider it.

I have never tried to over-winter basil in my house, but I have a few friends that grow it in their kitchen windows just like a regular house plant. I have my rosemary in a big pot that I drag indoors for the winter. It does well enough in my semi-sunny kitchen. I test the soil with my finger every week to see if it needs watering, otherwise I give it no other care - except a little "pruning" ;)