Why do we love Italian food so much? Well, there is pizza for one. Then there is the mystique and history of Italy, checkered tablecloths, candles in old chianti bottles. Chianti! But mainly it’s the rich flavors and wonderful aromas.
I once lived in little Italy, yep a German girl in an Italian neighborhood, every morning I awake to the strong smell of espresso and savory proscuiito cotto sottilette pomodoro capperi. Every evening I’d go to sleep to the smell of Bolognese simmering in the air and freshly baked bread wafting through the streets. I think I gained fifteen pounds just from inhaling.
One of my favorite dishes from that time was a blackened chicken pasta. Here is my version of the dish. The chicken is tender and juicy, the pasta is swirled in butter and garlic and a delicious parmesan cream sauce is lightly spooned over chicken.
Bring 4-6 quarts of water to boil.
In a shallow bowl mix 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder.
Rub seasoning on the top side of chicken.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and set aside. Heat a cast iron skillet until very hot, about 5 minutes. Place a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and swirl to melt the butter. Add seasoned chicken to the skillet and sauté over high heat for 3 minutes. Turn and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear.
Add salt to taste to the boiling water Add pasta, boil for 12 – 13 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While pasta cooks make the parmesan cream sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons of margarine in pan over medium heat. Stir in ¼ cup flour until blended. Gradually stir in 1 1/4 cups milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from heat.
Drain pasta well. In a nonstick skillet, sauté 1/4 chopped red pepper and 2 cloves minced garlic in 5 tablespoons butter until tender. Stir in pasta and 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil.
Take the chicken out of the oven. Spoon noodles onto a plate. Slice the chicken into strips and lay over noodles. Spoon cream sauce over chicken. Garnish with fresh basil and shaved parmesan.
The hardest thing with this dish is the timing, but it’s so worth the dinner dance. So good! – Ella
Blackened Chicken on Zucchini Noodles
• 8 ounces fettuccine
• 5 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
For the Blackened Chicken:
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon oregano
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
Parmesan Cream Sauce:
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1 1/4 cup milk
• 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
• Shaved parmesan, for garnishment
- Cook fettuccini according to package directions.
- Melt margarine in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in pasta and basil. Blackened Chicken:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil.
- Mix all the blackened seasonings in a shallow bowl. Rub onto the top side of chicken.
- Heat a cast iron skillet until very hot, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter and olive oil to skillet.
- Sauté chicken over high heat for 3 minutes. Turn and heat for 2 minutes
- Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes. Parmesan Cream Sauce:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir until the butter and flour are well combined. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly as it thickens. Stir in the parmesan cheese.