Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Piccata: Part One

Happy Sunday!

  To me,one of the best parts of cooking is the improvisation. I love taking a base recipe and tweaking it, tinkering with it, making it my own. I'm sure many cooks would agree :)

 So that is where we begin today. A recipe that arrived in my hands via a co-worker of my mother's. The recipe is for a Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss, which my boyfriend and I made last night for my parents. For the first try, I followed the recipe virtually to the letter (minus the parsley and capers). What followed was a very good Chicken Piccata, but, admittedly, one that I feel could be improved in several ways. I am going to post the original recipe now, tweak it a bit, and then post my version of the recipe here in the coming weeks. Why post both? Why not just post my version later? Because recipes evolve, and it's not necessarily about getting everything perfect the first time. Cooking can be about trial and error, learning, experimenting, etc. At the risk of sounding too abstract, I'd like this post to be about the journey, not the destination. So here were are, Chicken Piccata Part One, Part Two to follow shortly :)

Chicken Piccata Pasta Toss
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 11/3 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 1/2 tbsp. butter
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 good sized shallots, chopped
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 1 lemon, juiced, or 1/3 cup lemon juice 
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained (I didn't have any capers, so I left these out)
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped (again, I didn't have any fresh parsley, so I had to leave this out)
- 1 cup (or one small jar) quartered artichoke hearts in brine (drained and squeezed well)
- 1lb penne rigate pasta, cooked al dente

 - cook pasta to al dente, keep warm and set aside
- heat large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about one tbsp. of EVOO and the chicken to the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown until lightly golden all over. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. (I put it on a tray in a 185 degree oven).
- Reduce heat to medium and add the other tbsp. of EVOO to the pan along with the one tbsp. of butter and the garlic and shallots. Saute for about 3 minutes, keep an eye on the garlic so that it doesn't burn.
- Add the flour and cook for two minutes
- Whisk in the wine and reduce liquid for about 1 minute
- Whisk in the lemon juice and broth, stir in artichokes, capers and parsley (if using)
- When the sauce starts to bubble, add remaining 1/2 tbsp of butter Add chicken and heat through
- Toss with hot pasta

I very excited to tweak this and then compare the two :)


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