Monday, May 9, 2011

Lemon Pepper Pasta With Chicken

Homemade Lemon Pepper Pasta
I've been wanting to make this dish for a while now, but I knew I wanted to tackle making the actual lemon-pepper flavored pasta itself from scratch... so that's just what I did. 

It's nothing more than my favorite go-to pasta recipe, but I added the zest from 2 Meyer lemons and about 20 cranks of the old pepper grinder. It might have been more, I lost count. Let's call it a 1/2 tsp.

The pasta itself turned out great, the only drawback was that the sauce pretty much stepped all over the subtle lemony-pep of the noodles. But, in a good way... it's an easy sauce with great flavor. I'm just thinking that this would be a perfectly fine dish with regular pasta. Or... I might try doubling the lemon zest and pepper when I make the pasta next time. Either way it's an easy and tasty dish that we both really enjoyed. We must've... we ate all of it in one sitting.*

Best of all... this recipe uses a quarter cup of capers! Now I'm able to make a real dent in that gigantic jar of capers we have. Don't forget, unless you're a total salt fiend, rinse-rinse-rinse those capers... then rinse them again. Trust me, wouldn't you rather taste lemon and garlic than caper-brine? Yeah, I thought so, me too.

Lemon-Pepper Pasta with Chicken
adapted from this recipe at The Kitchn

4 chicken breasts
1 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest from 1 lemon
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup capers, rinsed well
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 recipe homemade pappardelle (or 8 oz. store-bought)

Cook the chicken breasts any way you like, and set aside. Use your favorite method; mine is to let Hubs grill them out back in the Weber.** Our method of choice for juicy boneless/skinless chicken breasts is from Cook's Illustrated (July 2007). Go here to the Cooking Cooks Illustrated blog for a glimpse of what it entails.

For the sauce, add the butter and oil to a heavy pan over med-low heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest to the pan and cook, stirring often. Cook until the garlic is soft, but don't let it brown.

Add the stock and turn the heat to med-high. Reduce the stock down to about half, then add the cream and capers. Turn the heat down a bit and let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Just before adding the pasta, throw in a big pinch of salt. Cook the pasta to desired doneness (the amount of time will depend on the shape of the pasta and whether it is fresh or dried).

When it's done, drain it and toss it with a bit of olive oil. Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Either slice the chicken into strips and arrange on top of the pasta, or serve the breast whole alongside the noodles. Serve with plenty of black pepper and grated Romano cheese. Serves 4

*We didn't have chicken with it the first time I made it.
**We usually try to cook up extra and freeze them for later. That way we always have cooked chicken on hand and can just thaw it out and go.
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  1. the pasta itself (the you make it) would be nice with just butter on it and the sauce for the chicken...either way - yummm!

  2. Stephanie, Would this taste just as good without the capers? And could I use half in half in place of the cream or would it just not be the same?

  3. @SharkBait: Yes - Best of both worlds! I like your thinking!

  4. @Rhitarshich's: It'll totally work without the capers. My Hubby is the one who loves them (which is why we have the huge jar of them). I can take them or leave them.

    As for subbing half'n'half, I think it should work just fine! Sour cream or yogurt might also work. I tend to use whatever I happen to have on hand at the time!


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