Posts Tagged ‘spaghetti’

Chicken Cacciatore

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

For David’s birthday this year, we had quite a feast. Normally, we spend Wednesday nights watching Glee, (and by “we,” I mean my friends and I, not David. He’s not a fan.) which means that our dinners on Wednesdays are usually more of the quick-and-easy variety than other nights of the week.

Rather than the typical simple fare, I tried for something a little fancier. We sat at the table, for one. Opened a bottle of wine, and had this pasta dish and garlic bread. Finally, topped it all off with Coconut Cake, which you’ll be hearing more about tomorrow. All in all, I think David was happy with his birthday dinner. It did make me wish that we’d do that kind of thing more often.

Pasta was an easy choice when planning a dinner for David, but I wanted to try something new, AND pick something he’d especially like, which is how I ended up with Chicken Cacciatore. Veggies (mostly peppers and onions) and tomato sauce and pasta–I knew he would be a fan. The sauce was made with balsamic and red wine, both of which David loves. It was a natural choice.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 breast halves)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 29 oz canned stewed tomatoes, Italian-style
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (Ours is the Little Italy NYC-Style, from the Spice House)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, snipped
  • 1 13.5 oz box whole wheat spaghetti

Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add olive oil and heat. Add chicken breasts and cook over medium heat until browned and juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.

Add onions, pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over cooked pasta.

Note: I thought this was good, and I’m sure we’ll make it again. I did add a tiny bit of sugar at the end, to balance out some of the acidity in the sauce. David and I liked this because we really like balsamic, but if you aren’t a fan, I wouldn’t recommend this recipe. Also, I skipped the mushrooms for David, but I think they’d be very tasty in this dish.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Spaghetti Carbonara? Yum!

I feel like I need to invoke Joey from “Friends” to really capture the greatness of this dish:

Noodles? Good.

Cheese? Good.

Bacon? Goo-od.

Carbonara’s a really fun dish to make. It looks impressive, it sounds impressive, but honestly, it couldn’t be easier. And it tastes delicious. This recipe for carbonara is by far my favorite out of the few that I’ve tried.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet

  • a box of dry spaghetti
  • pancetta or thick bacon
  • two raw eggs
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • freshly ground pepper
  • four cloves of garlic, peeled
  • white wine
  • roughly chopped parsley

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Cut the bacon or pancetta into small cubes. I use about 6 slices of bacon, but you can use less or more, depending on your tastes.

3. Add the cubes to a non-stick skillet with some olive oil and the garlic cloves. Turn on the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is golden brown¬† and then remove the garlic from the pan. Keep cooking the bacon/pancetta until it’s crispy and drippings are visable in the pan.¬† Once the bacon/pancetta is crisp, add one glass of white wine. It will bubble up and then begin to simmer. Continue heating this sauce over medium low heat until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

4. When the water begins to boil, salt the water then add the box of spaghetti noodles.

5. While the pasta boils and the sauce simmers, crack two eggs into a large bowl. Grate in at least one cup of Parmesan cheese (more if you like, I probably use closer to 1 1/2 cups). Grind black pepper over it all and then stir it together with a fork.

6. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and add it directly to the large bowl with the egg and cheese mixture.

7. Stir very quickly. It is important that you begin to stir immediately and continue stirring until the mix covers all of the noodles. The heat from the pasta is cooking the eggs for you, but if you don’t stir well, you could end up with something closer to scrambled eggs than pasta sauce. (As Alton Brown would say, “That’s not good eats.”)

8. When all of the noodles are coated with the egg/cheese mixture, add the bacon and sauce to the pasta and stir again. To finish, stir in the chopped parsley, and sprinkle a little more cheese on top.

Note: I like Spaghetti in this dish, but fettuccine or even orecchiette would work well. It just needs to be something that can be coated easily with the sauce mixture. Sometimes, we make this with grilled chicken–I just cook the chicken separately, then add to the bacon/wine mixture while the wine is reducing. If I add chicken, I usually use a little less bacon.