It’s a combination that is hailed and heralded in almost every culture (that I am familiar with at least)—lemon, garlic, pepper. The Tang, the Flavor, the Bite. Sour, Savory, Spicy. Triple S. Ah, good times indeed.
Even far back in those decadent days of cooking all pasta all the time in college, just with varying kinds of chicken (yeah I wasn’t breaking any boundaries back then, let me tell ya), I do recall my friend Tehniat’s fixation with lemon pepper chicken. I was fairly decent at it back then, and I’ve improved on it now. Using thinly sliced breast meat is key for these kinds of dishes, where I want to have diced chicken floating in a whirlpool of marinated (wheat!) pasta. It’s been fun and easy to try different marinade ideas in the morning, and just cook it up rapidly at night. Gives me a sense of calmness to have figured out dinner plans early in the day, so I can just sit and write and write and write and exercise and clean and write or try to write and read and read and clean some more and read and… yeah those are my days lately. Writing, or searching for jobs actually. Can be stressful. So a simple dish like this will do a lot to help ones brain out.
- 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ inch cube of grated ginger, about 1 ½ tsp
- Generous squeeze of lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp red pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Small drizzle of honey
- Red pepper flakes
- Ground black pepper
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Cilantro leaves
- Lemon slice (garnish)
- Whole wheat pasta (I used thin spaghetti)
For the marinade, put everything into a blender and whip it up into something delectable, thick and slightly sweet. Mostly tangy, hopefully savory, and just a tiny bit spicy. You may want to add more garlic if that’s your thing. I squeezed in about ½ a lemon, and ½ lemon’s worth of lemon zest too. Yeah, it was definitely a citrus kick for the sinuses. 🙂
Marinate your chicken for a good long while (or at least 25 minutes). When you’re ready, pull out a shallow frying pan, add only a tiiiiny bit of oil (the marinade had lots of olive oil already) to get the heat going on the pan, and lay down your chicken, probably two at a time. Overcrowding will cool the heat a bit and can lead to steaming the chicken as opposed to frying. Not good, gives it the wrong texture.
Once you’ve pan-fried all your chicken slices on each side, let them rest a bit on a paper towel. From the marinade bowl you should hopefully still have some liquid. Put that into the frying pan, and cook it. Let it come to a slow boil, and once it has reduced a bit you’ll know it has been cooked sufficiently and doesn’t have any rawness from the chicken in it. This will be your pasta “sauce.” You might want to or need to add lemon and garlic to it. If you want it to be less thick, add a bit of water (or chicken broth if you have it handy) to liquefy a bit and increase the quantity.
Back to the chicken—dice each breast up into small cubes, throwing it back into the pan with the sauce and then a thick handful of parmesan cheese. Toss in your noodles, keeping the heat on low so you don’t overcook the noodles. Add ground black pepper, chili flakes, and some salt.Then plate your masterpiece, adding some cilantro and a slice of lemon for flavor and pizzazz. For an added boom, take some hot sauce (Tabasco or Cholula for example) and drizzle it around.
Serve hot, and enjoy 🙂