Our son headed off to college last year and our daughter is soon to follow behind him. With her busy schedule, there are quite a few occasions when I’m just cooking for two. This has been a difficult transition since I’m used to cooking for two teenagers and lots of their friends.
This week’s Chicken Piccata Pasta makes just the right amount for two, with a little left over for lunch at work the next day. And, it uses ingredients I keep stocked in my refrigerator and freezer.
Chicken Piccata is an Italian dish that is sauced with butter, lemon and parsley. Many American versions include an additional tart hit from tiny capers. All of these elements are included in this version.
The dish first gets lemony flavor from lemon pepper seasoning, which is sprinkled over the chicken before it is sautéed. The second addition of lemon comes from the juice of two lemons, is part of the liquid for the sauce, along with some white wine or chicken broth.
I’m a purist when it comes to lemon juice – I try to always have fresh lemons in the refrigerator and use them whenever a recipe calls for lemon juice. I find the juice in the green bottles at the supermarket to be too tart and bitter. However, Minute Maid has a product in a yellow package in the freezer section (near the orange juice concentrate) that is real lemon juice, and you can keep that on hand for use in this recipe and others as a backup to fresh lemons.
I like to use the refrigerated “fresh” pasta in the dairy case when cooking for just a few people, as one nine-ounce package is the perfect amount for about three servings. You can substitute eight ounces of dried pasta in place of the fresh.
Although I use chicken in this version, a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp can be used instead for Shrimp Piccata Pasta.
Serve this lemony pasta dish while it’s piping hot. Add a crisp green salad or steamed green vegetable to complete your menu.
CHICKEN PICCATA PASTA
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into thin strips
Lemon-Pepper seasoning, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 large clove
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup white wine or chicken broth
Juice of 2 lemons, about 1/3 cup
3 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 9-ounce package refrigerated “fresh” fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Season the chicken strips to taste with lemon-pepper seasoning. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chicken strips and garlic and sauté until the chicken is almost done, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine or chicken broth, lemon juice and capers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Place the hot cooked pasta in a bowl. Pour the chicken mixture over the top. Add the chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste, and toss gently to coat.
Makes 2-3 servings.