Sunday, May 15, 2011

Greek Chicken Pasta

You may remember that I had mentioned a while back that Superking and I were planning a big trip to Japan.  And then a couple months after finally making that decision (it takes a long time for Superking to make a decision like that), the earthquake hit followed by the tsunami followed by the nuclear/radiation disaster which is currently ongoing...

After much mourning and pouting (mostly by Superking;) for several months about not being able to go to Japan for who knows how long, I finally was able to convince him to pick another vacation spot.  Although after our luck with Japan, I hesitate to mention the place(s) we've chosen.  So I won't actually say the name but maybe you can figure it out based on this dish I made last night for my church home group meeting.

Imagine sitting in a small cafe made of stark white stone with a bright blue roof.  The cafe sits high on the edge of a cliff overlooking the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean. There are colorful flowers growing up the side of the building and the ocean breeze is blowing through your hair.  There you are with your best friend enjoying a lovely meal of chicken and pasta with fresh olives and local feta cheese.  Does life get any better than that?

Greek Chicken Pasta 
(Adapted from the Noble Pig food blog who got the recipe from Sunset magazine. My personal notes are in blue.)

6 oz. spaghetti [you can use any kind of pasta, I used bow-tie]
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
8 oz. baby spinach [only need about 4oz if you use it more as a garnish like I did]
1/2 cup dry white wine [I found a nice Greek wine, Santorini 2009]
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes [didn't have red chile flakes but used red pepper flakes]
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved [any of your favorite olives would work well. I used a mixture of kalamata and Mt. Olympus giant green olives]
1 cup toasted pine nuts [I didn't toast my pine nuts but a friend said it really brings out the flavor of them. Put them in a frying pan with nothing else, turn the heat on low-medium, swish the nuts around a little until slightly golden]
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken [you can usually buy these already cooked at the grocery store and they are great. You can carve the meat off pretty easily and either chop it or shred it with your fingers. The one I got actually had a little BBQ flavor which added a little smokiness.]
3 oz. good quality feta cheese, crumbled


Cook spaghetti as package directs.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach, wine, chile flakes, olives, pine nuts, salt and pepper. [If you are like me and don't like cooked or wilted spinach, skip adding it in now and wait til the end.]

pine nuts

feta cheese

kalamata olives (all the green ones were already in the pasta)

Drain pasta, return to pot, and add onion mixture and chicken. Stir to coat and cook over medium heat until warmed, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to plates and top with feta cheese. [Before I added the cheese, I chopped up my fresh spinach, sliced a large handful of grape tomatoes, and tossed those on top of the pasta, then added the feta cheese.] 

fresh spinach

lovely little tomatoes

One last note, it also helps if you are serving this to a crowd where there's a possible nut allergy, make sure you don't include the pine nuts in the pasta. Serve them on the side in a small bowl and your guests can serve themselves for whoever wants them.. For some guests, the olives and feta cheese may be a bit too strong so don't overload the pasta with these items.  Instead serve the extra olives and feta cheese on the side for anyone who wants extra.

change the chicken to turkey and you'll figure out the other place we''re going!

Did you figure out where we're going yet??

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