Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Alone Doesn't Have To Mean Freezer Food

My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time together, but he's not from Michigan so when he visits his home state, I use that time to find perfect welcome-back recipes. No joke, I made this one with the ingredients I already had - and here's a secret, a lot of them were the kitchen rejects - bits of stuff I had left but no idea what to do with.

For instance, I first chopped the flat-leafed Italian parsley (note, I had no idea where this recipe was going at the time). This was left-over from some meatloaf we made a couple nights before. The shelf life of parsley is much shorter than you'd think. This bunch had another 2-3 days left. I honestly think the supermarkets purposely give you gobs of parsley knowing you can never finish it. But back to the cooking - chop the parsley.

Next, do all your prep work. This means slicing. I love Mediterranean-esque combinations and after studying abroad in Italy, I came to really appreciate pasta. It's not a vessel for sauce; it is something to be savored.

  • Roughly chop some black olive - I like these because they seem oilier which in this case is a good thing!

  • Also, chop about half an onion and mince 3-4 cloves garlic (I LOOOOVE garlic, so adjust the amount to your liking).

  • Cut half a package of baby/grape/pear/ tomatoes in half. See, this recipe really is about what you have on hand. You could even use sundried tomatoes if you wanted to. Again, the tomatoes were the ones I had used to take to work that week and I didn't really have enough for another salad, so I threw them into the pasta.

  • Put the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cover with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes - until they looked dried out and their juices have concentrated

  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic and onions. The onions should be almost caramelized when you've finished - 10-15 minutes

  • Add the olives and tomatoes and drizzle with a little more olive oil - set aside

Make the chicken - this is optional, but I really think it works well.

  • Heat oil in a deep saucepan
  • Pound down some chicken breast so it is flat
  • Cover with seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • Layer chicken in the oil and let crisp up
  • Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil

When I made this I was actually really surprised that the oil didn't seep into the crumbs - the chicken just got deliciously crispy.

For the pasta - this is how I cook mine and I don't care what other people say is taboo and whatnot; it works.

  • Add about 1 tsp of salt to a pot of water and let come to a boil
  • Put in a drizzle of oil and the pasta - I used spaghetti
  • Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente (to the tooth - meaning still a little tough in the middle). I've learned though, that everyone's taste for pasta is different. The dish is ultimately for you, so make it the way you like it.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauteed items - heat thoroughly and add some more olive oil. Since this is not being cooked anymore, use a fruitier olive oil - one you can really taste. Place the pasta on a plate with a couple pieces of chicken and sprinkle with the parsley. is time to eat...


  1. I have that problem with parsley all the time! I agree, supermarkets purposefully give you a bunch instead of a little herb box of it. I usually make my leftovers into parsley-spinach salad with fruit slices. It makes your breath smell lovely.