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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Pepper Papardelle Pasta & Spinach

Dinner.
I made this dinner last night, and I thought it was delicious (not to brag or anything).  For those of you that know me, you know I LOVE me some lemon.  I can pretty much never have enough lemon squeezed into or onto my food.  Whenever I cook, I always squirt at least a little lemon in, so when I read this recipe, it immediately appealed to me.
The original recipe comes from Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) cookbook Family Style, but I changed it quite a bit.  Well, maybe I didn't...the chicken recipe is pretty much the same, but Ina serves it with salad greens and a lemon vinaigrette.  I made the lemon pepper pasta and sauteed it with some spinach and garlic.  By the way, pappardelle pasta is just a fatter version of fettucini.  You can use any type of pasta you want, but I used the pappardelle because it comes in a lemon pepper flavor.

This recipe makes around 6 servings.

Here're the Ingredients:

Ingredients, except I forgot to put the flour in the picture.  Oops.
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 1/2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 package of lemon pepper papardelle pasta (Trader Joe's has it)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the optional lemon vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup of good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To the cooking:

1.  Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4" thick.  (Pound them between wax paper so you don't make a mess.) 

Flattening the chicken.
2.  Prepare the 3 plates for dredging/ dipping the chicken.  

Plate #1: Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.

Plate #1
Plate #2: Beat the 2 eggs with 1 tablespoon of water.

Plate #2
Plate #3: Combine the breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

Plate #3
3.  Heat a skillet on medium-low heat with some olive oil.  
4.  Dredge the chicken breasts.  Go in order: Plate #1, pat the flour mixture on.  Plate #2, dip the egg and let some drain off; you don't want it too eggy.  Plate #3, pat the mixture on until coated (not too thickly though), and place breasts directly into the heated skillet.  

Dredge #1

Dip

Dredge #2

The amount of coating you want.

Into the skillet!
5.  While the chicken is cooking, start to boil the water for the pasta and heat up a large pan with olive oil in it for the spinach. (You are going to add the pasta to the spinach pan, so it really should be fairly large.)
6.  The chicken should only need to cook 3-4 minutes per side if you really flattened the breasts enough.  Use you judgement depending on how thin you pounded the chicken.  

Getting nice and brown and crispy.
7.  When the chicken is done, take each piece out and lay on top of paper towels.  This sucks any excess grease out and helps make the chicken crispy.
8.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and put the spinach and garlic into the pan.  The spinach will reduce a lot as it cooks, so don't worry about overloading the pan.

Spinach and garlic.
9.  After the spinach is mostly reduced, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the mixture.

Squeezing in the lemon with my lemon-squeezer!
10.  Continue sauteeing the spinach.  When the pasta is done, drain and put the pasta into the spinach pan and mix everything together.

Pasta into the pan.

Mix it all up.
11.  At this point, you may eat and enjoy, or you can make the optional lemon vinaigrette to pour over everything and give it some extra zest.  I really don't think the meal needs the vinaigrette at all, but I do think it is nice to have if the pasta or chicken has dried out a little.  It is certainly good to have if you are having leftovers and re-heating the pasta/ chicken.  It is easy - all you do is whisk all of the ingredients together.  

Vinaigrette

The final product.  Sprinkle some more parmesan on it!

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