I really love meals that are zesty, and I really love meals that are lemony. But even more, I really, really love meals where the two can be put together to form a unique “one-pan” meal that is easy to prepare and sure to impress. Really, aren’t those the best? I mean, what could be better than rich, deep flavors all tossed together and allowed to bubble, mix and mingle until extremely friendly with each other? The thought of layering flavors and building a dish that is both saucy and vibrant all in one pan is utterly appealing to me; and when the only thing left to do is to toss in some tender pasta, then dinner is definitely ready to be served. Talk about comfort food at its easiest and classiest.
The simple and classic flavors of Chicken Piccata are a lemon-lovers dream; cutlets of seared chicken breast paired with wine and salty capers creates a savory-tangy sauce that clings ever-so silkily. And of course, there’s the bold and tomato-y Chicken Cacciatore, with the sweet intensity of bell peppers, onions, garlic and fresh herbs — perfect comfort food that simmers together until it’s reduced down to its richest flavors and most enticing aromas. Both delectable dishes, and both irresistible. And both work wonderfully well when combined into one, easily prepared “one-pan” pasta meal that anyone would be thrilled to dig into, and will be asking for again and again. And guess what? You’ll be happy to oblige, because when it’s a “one-pan” kind of meal, it’s a “no prob” kind of deal.
Never having to pick between Chicken Piccata and Chicken Cacciatore because there’s a scrumptious way to bring the two together to create Chicken “Picca-Tore” Pasta, means never having a less-than-truly-divine pasta dinner in your repertoire ever again. It also means joyful faces around the dinner table, and bowls being lifted for second helpings of saucy pasta bliss. Sounds like the best of both worlds, and the tastiest way ever to say “I love you”, doesn’t it?
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Lemony Chicken “Picca-Tore” Pasta with Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Peppers, Onions, Garlic and Capers with Wine and Fresh Herbs
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(Serves about 4)
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press, divided use
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
• Black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
• Olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
2 yellow bell peppers, cored and seeded, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup sauvignon blanc (or other white wine)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons capers
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 ounces cooked penne pasta
-Add the chicken pieces into a large bowl, and add in about 2 cloves worth of the pressed garlic, the lemon zest and juice, and a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and toss to coat; allow the meat to marinate for about 10 minutes.
-Place a large braising pan or heavy-bottom saute pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil; while the pan heats up, sprinkle the flour over the chicken pieces and toss the pieces to coat; once the pan is hot, add in the coated chicken pieces, and allow them to caramelize and become golden-brown on that first side, then toss them and allow them to become golden-brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes total; remove the chicken pieces from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
-Into that same pan, drizzle in a little more oil if needed, and add in the onions and the yellow bell peppers, and allow them to caramelize until a light golden-brown; next, add in the Italian seasoning, about 2 teaspoons of salt, and about ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and stir to combine; add in the remainder of the garlic, and stir it in.
-Once the garlic has become aromatic, add in the Sauvignon Blanc and allow it to quickly reduce for about 30 seconds while you scrape up the good browned bits on the bottom of the pan; next add in the dice tomatoes with their juice, along with the capers and the chicken stock, and stir.
-Simmer the sauce on medium-low/low, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes; once simmered, turn off the heat, and add back into the pan the chicken pieces, the brown sugar and the chopped parsley, plus another good drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt if needed, and stir to combine; finish by adding into the pan the cooked penne pasta, and toss the pasta well to coat it in the sauce.
-Serve garnished with shaved or grated parmesan cheese, if desired.