Fresh Veg and Pasta Tossed with Marinated Chicken

In the nearly four years since I began writing this humble blog, I have found my culinary niche. Comfort food.  That being said, comfort food is often comprised of heavy and not exceedingly healthful dishes.  I am working on ways to create dishes with all of the comforts of Grandma's or Nonna's down home cooking without sacrificing flavor, but also lightening up the caloric count. This dish does just that.  It is my marinated cubed chicken thighs, fresh tomato, onion and garlic saute garnished with garlic crisps and crispy salami.  Oh, and do not forget the shaved parmesan!

Let's get started, shall we?

Chicken Marinade
4 chicken thighs, cubed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 tablespoons red wine or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary, thyme and oregano (or dried)

Place the chicken in a gallon-sized zip lock bag with the marinade and allow to marinate for thirty minutes to two hours.  

Slice 2 cloves garlic into discs, and sliver 6 slices of your favorite salami, coppa or sopressata and crisp up in two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (evoo). Dry on a paper towel.  

Meanwhile, chop the remaining 3/4 onion into crescents, two Fresno chiles sliced into discs, finely chop two more cloves of garlic (garlic does a body really good!!!), halve the larger of two pints of tomato medley and take out a half pound or pound of your favorite pasta.  I used angel hair pasta for this dish.  

Bring about four quarts of water to a roiling boil.  

 Add two tablespoons of evoo to a large high-sided skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute about three minutes with a pinch of salt.  Add the garlic and Fresno chiles and saute three more minutes. Finally, add the marinated chicken and saute together for eight to ten minutes. 

Add one tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning to the saute. 

Drop the pasta when the water is at a full boil and liberally salt the water.  It is the only chance you get to season the pasta.  Cook the pasta for eight to ten minutes until just al dente.  Either remove the pasta and to the high-sided skillet with two tabs of butter. Butter helps to add a sheen and brightens the colors and adds flavor.  Toss the pasta with the vegetables and aromatics until coated with the evoo and the bursting tomatoes, those left whole. 

Plate together, garnish with finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley and fresh shaved Parmesan, and, top with some of the crispy salami and garlic crisps. 

One more for the fun of it....

This an also be served Family Style or individual, as above.  

Now, I know that the salami is not exactly heart healthy but it offers a crispy crunch and, along with the parmesan, a salty bite. By not having an actual sauce, by tossing the vegetables with garlic-infused evoo this dish is lite and healthy and diverse in flavors. The cubed chicken thighs, flavorful from that delicous marinade, are caramelized from the saute yet juicy and a perfect addition to the comfort food part of the pasta.  IF you prefer, you can always leave out the chicken and salami to create a perfect meatless Monday pasta dish. What a versatile dish!

Now, Please go and cook something comforty but healthy for someone you love!  And as always, Thank You for your time and consideration!

In-House Cook

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