Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pan Fried Chicken w/ Arugula Pesto Pasta

Pesto is such an awesome basic recipe to know.  There are so many ways you can switch it up! It is great for fresh herbs that are about to go bad.  I had about 2 cups of arugula that was on its way out and some parsley as well, so I decided on pesto.  Classic pesto is a mixture using basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese blended with olive oil.  Essentially pesto means to crush or pound which is how it is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle.  Now-a-days food processors make easy work of it.  So here are the basic essentials when making a pesto of any kind:

-fresh herbs
-a nut
-Parmesan or Pecorino cheese

Sometimes I leave out the nuts because I don't have any, not the end of the world.  I also love to add lemon juice and zest into my pestos too.  I like pestos because they are not rocket science, as you will see from the recipe I don't have exact measurements on a lot of things because I just throw everything in a food processor, taste at the end and if it needs more of one thing I just add it and blend up again, taste and repeat if necessary.  Also, pan frying chicken with a quick and easy pan sauce is impressive and tasty.

Arugula Pesto
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • handful of almonds
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • freshly grated pepper
  • pinch of salt (easy on the salt, the cheese is very salty, taste to make sure)
  • about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Combine everything in a food processor or blender and blend until a loose paste.  Sometimes I add just a bit of water to make it more loose (instead of using more oil)

Boil up your favorite pasta and top/toss with the pesto!

Pan Fried Chicken

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterflied in half to make them thin cutlets for quick cooking)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • about 1 cup of flour
  • 2 garlic cloves smashed
  • tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • oil
  1. In a skillet heat some oil on medium low with the smashed garlic cloves and red pepper flakes.  Try and keep the garlic in large pieces so we can remove it easily later.
  2. Don't let the garlic burn, keep heat on a low setting until we are ready with the chicken. 
  3. While the oil is infusing with the garlic and chili flake, combine the flour, salt and pepper on a plate or shallow bowl (I use the leftover Chinese take out containers, they work perfect). 
  4. When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove the garlic from the pan and discard.  Turn the heat up to high/med-high.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off any excessive.  Put chicken in the pan.  We are cooking it only a couple minutes on each side, just until they are brown and golden.
  5. When all the chicken is browned on both sides (don't worry it doesn't necessarily have to be cooked through) take out of the pan and reserve. 
  6. Add about 2 more tbsp of oil to the pan and then add the onion.  Cook the onion a couple minutes until soft and translucent.  Then sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the flour left over from dredging the chicken on the onions (if you don't feel comfortable doing this, use fresh flour).  Cook out the flour for about a minute. 
  7. Add the wine and stock to the pan and whisk until all combined.  Add the chicken back into the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Coat the chicken in the sauce and now you just have to keep warm until ready to serve.
  8. Plate the chicken and top with some extra sauce.
I served this all alongside my Lemon Garlic Broccoli Sidedish Yum!

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