Saturday, September 14, 2013

Paprika Chicken and Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Brought to my attention recently by someone whose opinion I highly value, this particular recipe is not necessarily a College Foodie recipe.  How many college students have paprika on hand, let alone a spice rack, and how many college students do we know who have culinary knife skills?  I know that students who are off to a university fresh out of high school and experiencing dorm living are going to rely on their university card and cash from their family to eat at the campus cafeterias and restaurants.  Graduate students and those transferring in as juniors, on the other hand, whose living arrangements (often living in university apartment housing) are more solitary or, in some cases, who are married, will oftentimes need to "fend for themselves" as opposed to practically cohabitating in the campus restaurants. Much of their home time is spent studying, researching and composing papers.  When I was a junior and senior at Sacramento State University, where my son currently attends as a junior, I often cooked "at home" in the apartment I shared with two roommates the first year (then with one roommate the next year).  I often made roasted teriyaki chicken thighs and sometimes spiced chicken thighs (using a packet of taco seasoning).  I think my roomies got very tired of that after while.  When I contemplated writing a College Foodie blog series, roasted (baked) chicken thighs was my very first go-to recipe. Not the first recipe I wrote, but the first one I thought of.  I was thinking more about what my son would like versus what I made back in the day.

With that in mind, here is my exceptionally simple recipe for Paprika Chicken and Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce.  

1 package of chicken thighs 
3 tablespoons Paprika
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, and separated in half (or, 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic, separated)
6 and 8 sage leaves, six leaves rolled, chopped, and finely chopped, and two more leaves left whole to garnish each of the four chicken thighs after cooking.
Salt and pepper for each side of the chicken thighs, and 2 tablespoons of salt for the pasta water
1/2 stick of butter
1 teaspoon dried sage powder or 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus a tablespoon for the pasta water
1 or 2 packages of your favorite fresh frozen ravioli 

To start, bring the olive oil to heat in a large high-sided oven-safe skillet* over medium-high heat.  Also preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the center. Meanwhile, season the chicken thighs, top and bottom each with a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and dust each side of each chicken thigh with a heaping amount of paprika.  Smoke Sweet Paprika is amazing with this dish, but any paprika will be just fine.  Add the chicken thighs to the skillet skin side down first. Get a good dark sear on both sides of the chicken.  This may take three to four minutes per side.  Don't be alarmed if the skin appears black-ish.  The paprika will change to that color as it caramelizes with the skin of the chicken.  *If you do not have an oven safe skillet, no problem!  Just place the seared chicken on a baking dish and place that or the oven-safe skillet, whichever you have, in the oven to finish cooking the chicken.  This should take about twelve to fifteen minutes.  To keep the thighs moist, place a foil tent over the skillet or baking dish. 

Bring the pasta water to a boil and liberally salt the water and add the evoo.  This is to help prevent the ravioli from sticking together.  Add the ravioli to the water and stir it around to prevent them from not only sticking to each other, but from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  The ravioli should be done in only a few minutes, three or so minutes, tops. 

Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, add the half stick of butter to a small sauce pan, along with the separated garlic, and allow the butter to melt.  When it becomes foamy, add the finely chopped sage and saute' over reduced heat until the butter browns.  Drain or remove the ravioli from the pot, place it in the sauce pan with the butter sauce and toss to coat each ravioli evenly.  The pasta will begin to absorb the flavors.  So good!

Plate the ravioli - leaving a space for the chicken! - and top with shaved parmesan cheese.  It is beautiful and amazingly flavorful! 

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest a few minutes.  Plate the chicken, garnish with the fresh sage leaves, and serve!  It is a treat for your palette! 

I made this same chicken a week or two ago and served with saffron scented rice.  Also a wonderful dish.  There are many sides or ways to serve this chicken.  And if all else fails, season the chicken simply with season salt or salt and pepper, bake, and serve with pasta, ravioli or rice.  What is not to like?

Enjoy!  Thanks for your time!