Simple Summer Pasta with Pan-seared Chicken
Tomatoes, garlic, and basil are a trio made in heaven, I love how the slight tartness of the tomatoes goes so well with spiciness of garlic and fragrance of basil leaves. These three ingredients pretty much sum up the feeling of summer for me – light, fresh, and bright! I love this pasta to accompany any meats (steak, lamb, chicken etc) because it doesn’t distract away from the rich flavours of the meat. It is light and you can just taste each individual fresh ingredient; each cherry tomato is like a little pocket bursting with vibrant flavour. The longer you let it sit together the more infused their flavours get into the olive oil. Recently I have been working on perfecting my pan-seared chicken thigh and I think I’ve got the perfect tricks down for a flavourful and moist chicken with a crispy skin. Bosco said it tastes so good he almost doesn’t believe it was homemade because it almost tastes like fast food chicken! So this is like two small recipes in one- this simple pasta and the perfect cooked chicken thigh, great on their own or together for a healthy and light meal!Servings: 2 Time: 30 minutes Difficulty: Easy, Fast Cost: ~150 HKD Ingredients: 2-3 skin on and bone in chicken thighs 1-2 teaspoon smoked paprika Pasta of your choice 2-3 large garlic cloves 1 pack cherry tomatoes on the vine 2 packs fresh basil Parmesan cheese Good quality salt + pepper extra virgin olive oil
1. CHICKEN: Use your knife to cut down along the chicken thigh bone to separate the sides of the bone from the meat
*I like to use skin on and bone in chicken thigh because the skin makes a nice barrier to keep the juices and flavours in while the bone keeps the meat moist, but bone-in requires longer to cook and often the outside is dry before the inside is cooked, so we’re helping speed up the process by semi-deboning the meat around the bone.
2. Season generously with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika; use your hands to massage them into the skin and meat
*Himalayan pink salt and sea salt taste less harsh/sharp and contain more minerals than regular processed table salt, so I highly recommend switching over for this daily essential seasoning.
*paprika is ground chilli pepper with a slightly sweet earthy taste and helps to give a nice golden colour, it isn’t spicy at all so don’t be afraid to use it.
3. Heat regular olive oil on med-high heat and place the chicken skin side down into the hot oil to give it a nice golden sear.
*We want to first sear both sides on higher heat to lock in the juices and produce flavour from the golden brown bits
4. Once both sides are golden, with the skin side up, add some boiling water into the pan (thin layer at bottom of pan) and partially cover with a lid, turn down the heat to med-low and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until fully cooking (no pink juices running out).
*chicken gets dry really easily, so we’re almost half steaming/frying the chicken as it slowly finishes cooking
*Make sure steam can evaporate so the skin doesn’t get too soggy
5. Once the chicken is cooked and the water has all evaporated, turn the heat back up and flip the chicken skin side down to crispen up the skin again in the remaining oil. Baste with the oil to keep the chicken moist and flavourful. Then it’s done!
*There’s lots of flavour in the oil left in the pan, so drag your chicken around to sort of mop up those little pieces
6. PASTA: In the meantime, thinly slice up the cleaned basil, horizontally halve the tomatoes, mince the garlic, and grate a big teaspoon of parmesan into a large bowl.
*horizontally slicing the tomatoes exposes the seeds and juices, which will flavour our olive oil
7. Season with good quality salt and pepper, generously dress with extra virgin olive oil and mix.
*let it sit for as long as the pasta cooks to let the garlic/tomato juices/basil/parmesan infuse into the oil
8. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and immediately mix into the olive oil mixture
*it is very important to mix the sauce with pasta while it is hot because the heat helps to mellow out the spiciness of the garlic and the pasta will soak up the juices in the sauce
9. Top with more freshly grated parmesan/fresh basil leaves and that’s it!
I hope you enjoyed this super easy recipe. As always, if you ever try this, please share with me on instagram using #cookedforyoublog or @cookedforyou. I love seeing hearing back from you guys, it would really make my day! Love tomatos/basil/garlic as well? Check my other recipes using them below 🙂
Stay in love with life,