Growing up, we lived across the street from my great-aunt. I have many many memories and stories from their house, but in particular I remember going to her house after church for Sunday dinner. I always loved going over there, seeing my cousins, and just enjoying time with our big family. Now that I have a big family of my own, I romanticize about having big family dinners at our house after church.
However, those notions are pretty quickly squelched... by the time we get home from church on Sundays, I'm starving, Smith has passed out, the twins are hungry and tired, and Caroline... well actually, she's usually just singing a Disney song in the backseat and is fine. We're definitely on borrowed time, and hangry meltdowns are imminent for all of us. My visions of big Sunday dinners in reality end up being grilled cheese sandwiches, leftovers, or eggs and toast. Nailed it.
A few weeks ago, however, I stayed home from church, and had the house all to myself for the morning. After folding a bunch of laundry, leisurely drinking my coffee, and doing some cleaning, I decided to make a nice lunch for when everyone else got home. While it's not the fried chicken, okra, tomato salad, biscuits, and butter beans that I grew up eating as Sunday dinner, it is still quite hearty, comforting, and delicious.
Chicken is pan-fried, then served atop a bed of garlicky pasta that's coated in a white wine sauce,and lots of bright and peppery arugula. It's a great combination of creamy, garlicky, fresh, and comforting.
Now when I say this is garlicky, I mean there are 12 cloves of garlic here! That's 3 cloves per person! However, they are slowly sautéed, then cooked further in the sauce, so the flavor is more roasted and buttery vs strong and abrasive. It's very well-balanced, so don't be scared!
Not a fan of arugua? Try spinach, kale, or swiss chard or even toss the pasta with some steamed broccoli, asparagus, or roasted brussels sprouts. I think pretty much any green veggie would work here.
While my daydreams of big family-style lunches after church are on the back burner for now, having a homey and comforting pasta dish like this isn't too shabby.
Garlicky Pasta with Tuscan Chicken
barely adapted from Pasta Revolution
- 3 (6 to 8 oz) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs flour
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 12 oz dried pasta
- 6 oz (6 cups) baby arugula
- 1 1/2 oz (3/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish, combine 1/2 cup of the flour with the garlic powder and lemon zest. Working one piece of chicken at a time, dip in the flour mixture, coating all sides, and shaking off the excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Carefully arrange the chicken in a single layer, then allow to cook 6 to 8 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until it registers 160 degrees. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until al dente, using the time recommendation from the box. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot, add the arugula, stir, then cover to keep warm and wilt the greens.
As the pasta is cooking, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, along with the garlic and shallots. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper flakes and remaining tablespoon of flour, and cook 30 seconds.
Whisk in the wine, then broth. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce, then pour the rest into the pot with the pasta and arugula. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice, then toss until the mixture is well-combined. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to adjust the consistency, then season with salt and pepper.
Slice the chicken thinly on the bias. Divide the pasta among 4 serving bowls, then top with the sliced chicken. Drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons of the reserved sauce, then sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.