Remember how I said I was super sick of Greek food? Yeah, well, I’m over that.
Sometimes I just feel bad for The Husband. I’m sure he wants an all-American meal from time to time, but I simply cannot do that.
I’ll ask him, “Hey, what sounds good for dinner?” and he’ll suggest steak or potatoes or something super
boring traditional. I will go into it with the best of intentions, yet somehow by the end of it I have Argentinian chimichurri sauce on the steak and Moroccan harissa all over the potatoes. Oops.
That’s pretty much what happened with this recipe, too.
Pasta + Chicken. Pretty standard fare. Most would add a creamy white sauce and call it a day, but I always need to have 37 different flavors per dish in order to satisfy my highly demanding palate.
This is why you see olives + tomatoes + onions + garlic + lemon zest + oregano + spices. Lots of yummy spices.
I’ll explain our completely silly marital problem with a few quick examples.
Let’s talk favorites. Sandwich, Pizza, and Ice Cream. Go!
Jesse: Meat and Cheese, Pepperoni, and Vanilla.
Anetta: Everything on it, Everything on it, Everything But The Kitchen Sink (Ben & Jerry’s!)
I suppose there are worse problems we could have. Lucky for me, he’ll eat just about anything so he never complains about all the weird and crazy food. You guys just see the good stuff, but you wouldn’t believe some of the recipes fails that happen in my kitchen.
Right, back to the Greek Pasta with Chicken.
Do you see all that brown stuff stuck to the bottom of my pot? It’s called “fond.” I live for it.
Basically, it’s all the amazing caramelized loveliness that comes from the introduction of food to high heat. It’s the key to adding lots of flavor to your meals. Never let it burn and never waste it.
I like to brown my meat and veggies in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (I love this reasonably priced one from Lodge Logic). If you try to do this with non-stick pans it just won’t work. Let the meat cook in just a *little* bit of oil until the pieces come un-stuck from the bottom of the pan.
I know it’s kind of scary when they start sticking to the bottom, but just trust me, it’s supposed to happen that way. Once it’s un-stuck, flip it over and let the other side get some color on it.
Then just dump a bunch of other stuff in…
…and gobble it all up.
Easy peasey… lemon…squeezy. Yep, not going to erase that. I said it, so you have to read it.
Here’s Your Recipe
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb pasta (your choice)
- 1/2 of a small red onion, vertically sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup halved and pitted kalamata olives
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (optional)
- Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Combine salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Sprinkle seasoning over chicken, turning the pieces as needed to evenly distribute the spices.
- Boil water. Cook pasta according to package directions until barely al dente. Do not overcook! Drain, reserving one cup of pasta water.
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces in a single layer and cook undisturbed until golden brown. Turn, and repeat on other side of chicken until cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan and cook two minutes, adding additional oil or a splash of pasta water as needed to prevent burning. Add tomatoes and olives and cook for two minutes.
- Transfer the browned chicken and drained pasta to the pot. Turn off the heat, then add the fresh oregano and lemon zest. Toss well; serve hot.