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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta Entree’

Here is another dish that I made up on my own which is simple enough to make during the work week. Fresh zucchini is available all year but local zucchini can be found later in the summer in northern regions.

The quantities in this recipe are flexible depending on the size of the zucchini and how much spaghetti you like in a serving. For me, the recipe below makes two generous servings.

The cooking time for this dish is fairly quick and prep may be done while the water for the spaghetti is being heated. Part of the timing of this dish is dependent on how long the spaghetti takes to cook and how tender you like your pasta.IMG_0353

Oregano Chicken and Zucchini Tossed with Spaghetti – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces dry spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or linguine
  • 2 small or one large zucchini sliced into ¼ – 3/8 inch circles or semicircles (for a large piece)
  • 1 pound (or less) boneless skinless chicken breast roughly cut into ½” dice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
  • Dried oregano (plenty – 2+ tablespoons?)
  • Olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste (I like a lot on this dish)

Cook:

  • Set a pot of water on the stove to come to a boil.
  • In the mean time, rinse and dry zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice up and set aside (use a plate or bowl to hold zucchini now and the cooked zucchini later).
  • Dice up the chicken breast and season with salt.
  • Peel two cloves of garlic. (mince if not using a garlic press)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Press one garlic clove into pan and mix around with the oil.
  • Toss zucchini into the oil so all pieces are coated then try to arrange in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with a generous amount of oregano. (see photo)IMG_0352
  • Put pasta in the water. Set timer.
  • After a 2-3 minutes turn zucchini over.
  • After 2 more minutes remove zucchini from the pan.
  • Put another tablespoon of oil into the pan.
  • Press in the 2nd garlic clove into the pan.
  • Add chicken to the pan and mix around so pieces are evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle chicken with a generous amount of oregano.
  • After a couple of minutes stir around the chicken. Continue to let chicken cook and occasionally stir the chicken around until it begins to caramelize. Stir in the zucchini; lower heat to low. At this point, the pasta should have two minutes or less remaining. (Raise heat on chicken if you need to speed the caramelization up.)
  • Drain the pasta. Pour a little olive oil into the pasta and mix it around.
  • Add to frying pan and toss everything together. Turn off heat.
  • Serve
  • Top with a generous amount of grated parmesan.
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Some days I just really don’t want to have to do much work for my dinner.  Usually this is a work night, I’m pooped, but I’m also starving and feeling too poor for delivery.  Keeping frozen shrimp in my freezer makes it easy to cook on nights like that.  The shrimp thaw in 10-15 minutes in a bowl of water, and presto! you have dinner.

Now with shrimp fra diavolo there are TONS of substitutions.  There are two big ones that I think are worth noting.  The first is whether to use fresh or dried basil.  I prefer the flavor of fresh if it’s around, but when it’s not in my fridge I will use dried.  The second is regarding tomatoes.  I prefer to use canned diced tomatoes, and my father (who cooked the dish in the photo) prefers crushed tomatoes.  Crushed tomatoes give it a more saucy texture.  Use what you prefer – sauce or chunks of tomatoes.  Both work well and will taste great!

Ok I lied; one more thing you can tweak – the heat.  This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  If you are timid with heat, use less.  If you love spice add more.  Just don’t go overboard, especially if serving to others who may not share your enthusiasm for heat.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of deveined, peeled uncooked shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (plain, no seasoning added)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves
  • 10 oz dry linguine or spaghetti

Prep:

  1. Peel the onion and chop into a dice, and set aside.
  2. Peel and mince the garlic and set aside.
  3. Chop up the fresh basil by bunching up the leaves together and cutting into slices and then chopping those slices again.  Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl toss the shrimp with the salt and red pepper flakes.  Make sure to coat all of the shrimp.

Cook:

  1. Over high heat bring water to a boil to cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and sauté for one minute, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the shrimp are just cooked.
  4. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and place in a bowl to save for later.
  5. Return the skillet to the burner and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  6. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  7. Then add the tomatoes (and all of that good juice in the can), wine, garlic and oregano to the pan.  Stir well and allow to cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.  If using dried basil add the basil at this time as well.
  8. Add the shrimp and any juices in the bowl back into the skillet.  Stir to coat the shrimp in the sauce and cook for about one minute.
  9. Add the basil to the skillet and stir to mix.  Ignore this step if using dried basil.
  10. Serve on top of a bed of pasta and enjoy!

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