Last night, I pooled the inspiration I’ve been absorbing via osmosis on many foodie adventures in Chicago and stacked my culinary hopes on a pound of chicken breast. Without a kitchen assistant (aka a sous chef) it took 35 minutes to prepare and get a Weeknight Fancy Italian Chicken Fettucine on the plate using only ingredients I had at home. The end result was a blend of flavors and textures that pleased the palate and leave you coming back for more. Think you can do it? I do.
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Weeknight Fancy Italian Chicken Fettucine – serves 5 in 35 minutes
There are just two main elements to this meal: 1) the chicken, and 2) the noodles.
To prepare the chicken, you will also need:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2.5 cups panko bread crumbs
- 5 tablespoons of coarse salt, or 4 of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons Italian spice herb blend
- 3 teaspoons of black pepper, or about 24 grinds of freshly ground pepper
- I sliced two chicken breasts (about 1 pound) thinly and along the long edge. After beating one egg, set it aside in a small bowl.
- 6 tablespoons stovetop-safe cooking oil. I use grapeseed oil, avocado is also a good option. (you need about 3 tablespoons per batch of cooking the chicken for a large cast-iron pan — ours is about 12 by 12 inches)
- 1/2 lemon, to finish the dish on the plate (you won’t use all of it)
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- Mix the panko bread crumbs, salt, cayenne pepper, Italian spices, and black pepper together to make the herb coating.
- Dip the chicken slices in egg to coat. Then, using your hands, drop the egg-coated chicken in the herb coating and coat as much as you can.
- To cook the chicken, add 3 tablespoons of oil or coat the pan well. Cook chicken for 10-15 minutes on high heat, flipping once, attending to the heat to adjust and check on it so it does not burn. If you have excess coating that comes off in the pan, be sure to collect it and discard it before beginning another batch of chicken.
- Once all the chicken is done, set on a paper towel-lined plate to rest so they remain crispy.
To prepare the noodles, you will also need:
- 1 teaspoon flour
- fettucine or other thin, flat flour noodle
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon basil pesto (I make this ahead of time and freeze it in little portions. I like this brand of garlic that comes in a convenient grid of little pop-out crushed garlic pods, so I often have room for my homemade pesto in them)
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
– – –
- Boil the noodles and drain in a colander. Do not rinse them, or else the natural starch that causes sauce to adhere to the noodles will slide off.
- Using that same pot, you can heat half and half, garlic, pesto, butter, nutmeg on medium heat until combined and butter is melted. Add in white wine and bring to a boil. Stir in flour and then bring to a low simmer. The sauce should begin to thicken ever so slightly.
- To combine the noodles and fettucine sauce, you may use the same pot used for chicken, but make sure any bits of chicken coating are discarded. Add a teaspoon or less of oil to the pot, and keep on low-medium heat.
- Add noodles, stir gently to separate noodles. Add in sauce, then peas. This should take less than a minute.
- To plate, portion noodles onto a plate or bowl, top with 3-4 slices of breaded chicken, and do a quick squeeze of lemon on top to highlight and brighten the flavors.
What does it taste like?
Really nice, flavorful, and balanced in flavor and texture. The noodles have a light, beautiful sauce with a faint aroma from the white wine – we used a south Australian organic wine that we had on hand, but any white wine is fine. The nutmeg adds a hint of sweetness that the sweet peas continue to bring out and develop. The peas further add a freshness and a bit of juice to the long noodles. These all contrast with the light, airy crisp of the chicken’s coating, and the chicken is moist within and savory from the salt – there is no cheese or salt added to the cream sauce because the chicken provides that. The chicken has a light crunch – panko is not a heavy breading at all and when done correctly, the lightly crispy outside should hold nicely to chicken during the frying process. The cayenne from the chicken’s herb and spice coating adds a welcome, small, but noticeable, taste of heat that partners well with the creaminess of the pasta and also works well with the natural sweetness of the pea. We each had seconds, and there was one smaller lunch portion left for a lucky person!
I hope this inspires a weeknight dinner! Elevate the everyday!
Pin it to your Pinterest board for later, or add it to your weeknight menu. Follow me on Pinterest @bluebootsgo and let’s pin and share recipe inspiration together :-).