Sunday, May 6, 2018

Leftover Chicken Pasta

I'm on a pasta roll. Last week, I finally managed to produce crispy leftover pasta (based on a salmon pasta I'd made the day before which was quite good to begin with...see recipe at the bottom of the above link). Today: leftover chicken pasta. This was a clear "9":



Buy cheap rotisserie chicken parts at supermarket (leftover works great).
It's usually less expensive than raw chicken, because they're using up expired meat - past the sale date, not the use date, so don't worry. Note: you don't want branded rotisserie chicken - ickily seasoned and expensive - you want the store-roasted stuff. Note that good quality barbecued chicken works even better, but I would not recommend broiled or poached chicken breast).
Boil pasta water with plenty of salt.

Chop a small onion and sauté at low medium temp in a skillet with extra virgin oil.

When onion just begins to brown, shut off heat (it's impossible to synch timing otherwise).

Cook pasta al dente, drain (saving a couple TBS of cooking water).

Heat up onion skillet, then add another TBS olive oil.

Add 3 or 4 coarsely chopped plum tomatoes.

Add a generous handful of chopped pea shoots (available in health food markets).
This has become an essential secret pasta ingredient for me. The shoots add a sweet verdancy, plus they emulsify the sauce a bit. Also: super healthy.
Stirring occasionally, let cook a couple minutes.

Add chicken meat (coarsely chopped), cover, and reduce heat to low medium.

Put pasta back in pot with water. Turn on heat to medium.

Add a TBS or two of extra virgin olive oil, stirring like a crazy person.

Add grated cheese, with more frantic stirring.
I eat too healthy to use much cheese, but, as with dark chocolate, I find that a tiny bit really earns its pay. I use about 1/3 cup - after grating - per portion, which is not a lot of cheese, but, man, does it make a diff. And I always add during cooking, rather than at serving, to imbue every bit of flavor.
Add a couple generous handfuls of spinach leaves, stirring even harder (you want them to wilt, though not to the point of sliminess...this takes skill, by the way).

Sprinkle with chili flakes (I like Penzey's Aleppo peppers).

Add chicken mixture, continuing to stir.

If you've timed it right, ingredients should be starting to stick to the bottom of the hot pot. Turn off heat and serve. If the pot isn't a complete mess inside, the mixing-in wasn't long enough or hot enough.

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