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My Tuscan Chicken

Monday nights are perfectly made for cooking a great meal. A meal that will give you hope for the rest of the week, and will undoubtedly kick the blues out of Monday! I found that meal in Tuscan Garlic Chicken.

This recipe I have read about on blogs for close to a year now, and it has sat in my things to cook for months. Now Tuscan garlic chicken is served at the famous Olive Garden restaurant all the way in the US of A. there have been many, many recipes recreating this dish, all different in their own way, and since I have never been to Olive Garden (though someday I would love to), I don’t know how good or bad it is supposed to taste. But from what I had read, Tuscan Garlic Chicken was about to blow me away…

So I left work, sat through traffic to the supermarket. Chose to shop at Chandarana (Yaya Centre), I like shopping here, I know I can always find the things that you can’t find in Nakumatt or Tuskys, it is also cheaper than other supermarkets; which was rather surprising to me. Sat through more traffic on the way home, doesn’t it feel like we spend most of our lives in traffic? And the sun, with all its cousins and children barely kissing your forehead; It is almost unbearable!

Remember how I forget to include ingredients when I’m cooking? Sometimes it’s a minor ingredient that no one will notice isn’t there, and sometimes it’s a main ingredient and the whole meal is hinged upon this one ingredient that you most certainly forgot! So… I forgot the garlic!

I know how can you have Tuscan GARLIC chicken without the garlic? I pondered this, and even contemplated getting back in the car to buy some, but I had a very hungry stomach to feed and the traffic *sigh* the traffic. It would have to do without the garlic.

So I made it sans garlic, which turned out quite, absolutely fabulous! I imagined myself at Olive Garden eating this, and mentioning to the chef that he should try the recipe without the garlic, and he would name a dish after me, people from all over the world would come to try it, I would win awards for…… sorry where was I?

Here’s the recipe I used:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
5-4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp garlic (about 4-5 cloves), finely minced
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup chicken stock
a small bunch fresh spinach, chopped (I had the nice man at the kiosk chop for me)
1/2 cup cream
4 tsp cornstarch
2 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
10 oz whole wheat fettuccine or linguine pasta

Preheat oven to 180°C. I have to state here, that there was an absence of an oven so I improvised and left the chicken to cook on the skillet.

In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through.

If you are using an oven: Remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

If like me, there was no oven eh… I would leave them in the skillet to cook through. It helps if you pound the chicken pieces with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin, so that you have thinner pieces that will cook evenly (also good for stress relief).

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the GARLIC and bell pepper, sautéing for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream.

Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasonings- season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta.

I found this recipe on here

Do try it with garlic, and let me know how it is!