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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Winner, Winner, Tuscan Garlic Chicken Dinner

I came across this recipe several days ago while blog-hopping. Any recipe with the words “Tuscan” and “garlic” will immediately grab my attention. In reading through the ingredient list and preparation steps, there were a couple of ingredients I didn’t have, and one I knew I couldn’t use if I wanted Greg to eat it, so there was a little tweaking going on as supper was prepared a few days ago.

I knew he’d never eat cooked spinach – I’ve asked a few times when wanting to make something like this. So that part was out. Instead, I steamed some frozen asparagus as a side dish.

I also wasn’t about to give the appendage required to purchase a red bell pepper at the grocery store last week, so that got left out. When pepper prices come down, or I have my own from the garden, I’ll make this again, because the red pepper would have been really good here.

tuscan garlic chicken

Here is the original recipe, with my changes in blue.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken


3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 T. salt

1 t. pepper

1/2 t. dried basil (I used Italian seasoning)

1/2 t. dried oregano

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

5 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 T. finely minced garlic, 4-5 cloves

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped (left out)

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

6 oz. fresh spinach (omitted)

1/2 c. heavy cream

2 t. cornstarch

1 c. milk

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound fettuccine (or whatever pasta you have on hand) (whole grain angel hair)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a shallow pie plate, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.  (note: if your chicken is quite thick, butterfly them so they are thinner)

2.  In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through, they will finish up cooking in the oven. (note: don’t move the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading will likely fall off) Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

3.  While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.

4.  Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream, and milk. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

5.  When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

This was really, really good. The chicken is tender and flavorful, the sauce is garlicky and smooth. I use angel hair pasta for dishes like this – I like the delicate texture.

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