Rice Fettuccine and Grilled Chicken
One of the world's best loved comfort foods is pasta and it sure is one of my favorites. I had the pleasure of cooking for some friends the other night, and, with the request for a healthy meal, I went directly to my favorite pasta creation, my sauce-less pasta. To keep it gastronomically healthy, I chose rice pasta and fresh tomatoes, garlic and shallot. To serve alongside this delicious, filling pasta dish, I marinated and grilled boneless/skinless chicken thighs. My friend made a delightful salad which added to the healthful meal. This pasta, alone, will feed four or five people with one pound of pasta. I'd love to share this recipe with you, and that of the chicken. Let's get started, shall we?
1 pound rice fettuccine (or your favorite pasta)
1 large or 2 medium shallots, sliced into crescents
2 pints tomato medley, halved
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
zest of one lemon, halved
4 tabs butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Halved tomato medley
After prepping the tomatoes and aromatics, prepare the marinade for the chicken thighs.
Chicken Thigh Marinade
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon green tea
1 teaspoon turmeric
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoons pomegranate red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
In a medium bowl, add the liquid marinade ingredients. Next, add the dry ingredients and whisk together vigorously. Next, add half of the marinade. Add the chicken thighs open side down and pour the remaining marinade atop the chicken. Allow the thighs to marinate for at least thirty minutes, though an hour or more would be best to allow the acids to begin to soften the tissues and the flavors to marry and settle in. Again, whatever time you have available will do.
Heat up a grill plate or fire up the barbecue once you are ready to grill the chicken, and, place a large pot with about four quarts of water over high heat. Rub evoo onto the grill plate or spray non-stick spray over the grill prior to heating. The big idea with the chicken is to let it be; do not constantly turn it. Let it grill for at least six minutes per side; if the chicken does not readily release, let it continue until it readily releases. The grill marks will be clear and the color a nice gold. The aroma is going to take your sinuses on quite a wonderful journey!
When the pot of water comes to a roiling boil, liberally salt the water, as it is the only chance you have to season the pasta. Add the pound of pasta to the boiling water and stir to make sure the pasta does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir occasionally to continue to prevent this. Cook the pasta until al dente, just shy of the eight to twelve minutes in the package directions.
Strain the pasta in a strainer, but, save about half a cup or so of the pasta water. Let the pasta sit for a moment while you add the tabs of butter and the evoo and a little fresh garlic to the pasta pot over medium heat. Add the pasta, half of the cup of water along with the garlic, shallot and tomatoes and toss together to coat the pasta evenly and allow the flavors to marry. Add some fresh grated parmesan cheese to the pot, about a quarter cup and toss to incorporate the cheese. The aroma will be simply amazing.
Remove from the heat and allow the pasta to sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to marry. I like to add the pasta to a platter and allow the people to serve themselves buffet style. This makes it more fun and people can give themselves the amount of food they want.
Meanwhile, the chicken should be done, removed from the grill plate and allow it to rest a few minutes. Now to plate. Either slice the chicken or serve whole. I served it whole.
Pasta Plated Familia Style
My friend, Spinner, made a lovely salad which balanced out the dish very well. I garnished the chicken with fresh thyme and garnished the pasta platter with finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley.
As always, I am humbled and grateful for your readership and consideration! Now, go cook for someone you love!