Zach and I have returned from an epic trip to Austin. It was a week filled with all-things-Texas in what we northerners consider mid-summer weather (90s in APRIL? Are you kidding? It snowed a week ago here!). I am tan, well-fed, and have had my fill of bluebonnets, barbecue, and farm animals.
If you are here for chicken piccata pasta, please scroll to the bottom. If you would like to see pictures of Texas things, like three-day old baby calfs, please continue from here :-) Highlights of the trip included…
Fields of bluebonnets on the side of the road, perfect for all your frolicking needs:
A three-day old baby calf at Zach’s grandfather’s farm on Easter Sunday (dinner was barbecue chicken and pork ribs… thank God there wasn’t any beef at the meal, I don’t think I would have had the heart to eat it!)
And lots of deck-sittin’ eating chips and salsa and enjoying the sunshine. Gosh, my husband is handsome!
OK. Enough reminiscing. Onto the recipe!
Whenever Zach and I visit, his parents are extremely gracious in letting us stay for a LONG visit at their house. To say thank you (and because we love cooking together and sharing food), we’ve started a tradition of cooking a meal for all of us before we leave. In the past, we’ve made spinach and mushroom lasagna, pasta arugula, and a few Greek dishes. This time, it was chicken piccata pasta. I’ve made chicken piccata before (and will blog about it later- it’s amazing) but we wanted something a little easier to prepare. This turned out excellent- it was very easy, relatively quick, and super tasty.
I adapted this from Rachel Ray, and made a few adjustments to create a healthier meal. I used whole wheat pasta (gemelli) and added green beans. Here’s a good trick- when you add vegetables to a pasta dish, add them to the boiling pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking the pasta. This will save you a dish to wash, and you can just drain the pasta and vegetables together and add to whatever sauce you are using! I also made more sauce than the recipe called for… partially because I love sauce, but also because I didn’t want to waste the rest of the can of chicken broth I had purchased.
The only ingredient in this that is not “real” is a small amount of white flour- it’s necessary to thicken the sauce. Try as you might, you will find yourself unable to thicken sauce with whole wheat flour. I use white flour to thicken dishes whenever I need to, since it is usually a small amount, the same as I will use a small amount of sugar to cut the acidity in some dishes (like pickled jalepenos). Those of you who are strongly averse to using refined flour in any amount- just leave it out! Those of you who are happy with a 95% real food diet (like me), leave it in.
Chicken Piccata Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1- 1.25 pounds chicken breasts cut into small one-inch pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb. green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 shallots chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 lemons juiced
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth
- 1/4 cup capers drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 lb. whole wheat pasta fusilli, gemelli, penne, or any kind you want
- Add salt and pepper to chicken and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside after cooking.
- Cook pasta according to direction. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add chopped green beans. Drain green beans and pasta together.
- While pasta is cooking, make sauce in skillet from the chicken. Add garlic and shallots, and saute until slightly browned and tender. Add flour and stir; heat for about 1 minute. Add white wine and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, approximately 2 minutes.
- To the skillet add parsley, capers, chicken broth and lemon juice; whisk together. The mixture will slowly thicken. Season with salt and pepper and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add chicken back to the skillet and heat through for approximately 2 minutes.
- Add sauce to pasta in a large bowl; stir to coat.