Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spicy Chicken Ziti

Spicy Chicken with Ziti

I keep seeing cooks on the Food Network make Chicken Riggies or Chicken with Rigatoni. Now I am up for almost ANY kind of pasta dish, and hey, chicken, it's a no brainer. So, I went to my local (smaller size) market and believe it or not, they did NOT have any rigatoni! What? I could hardly believe it, but I can roll with it, so I substituted ziti. Not that there is THAT much difference between ziti and rigatoni, but there is a little bit.

This came together pretty quickly once I had chopped everything up. It was rich, spicy, creamy and very satisfying, all at the same time. Makes the cut for a pretty easy weeknight dinner!

I made what I thought would be about right for 2 people, but it actually made 4 servings. Go figure, I've never been very good at "portioning" things out. I am always the one who makes way too much, or tries to transfer leftovers into a container that's either way too small for that amount or overly gigantic for the little bit I've got to store. I can't explain it, but that's just me. I feel like this is pretty family friendly, but to get my "kids" to eat it, I'd have to leave out the mushrooms! Maybe sub some roasted red peppers? That would probably work. Start out with 1/2 tsp. of the red pepper flakes if you are not sure how much spice you want. I used 1 tsp. in ours. Don't omit the thyme, it pairs so very well with the chicken and mushrooms, and adds a nice earthy taste. The  thyme in my garden is extremely hardy so I have it available all year round. Even if I've got to brush some snow of it, I can find some green underneath! If you don't grow thyme, give it a try, it's super easy -- at least it is here in Central VA! It also smells really good when you are working in your garden, an added bonus.

Here's what I came up with:

Spicy Chicken with Ziti

3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 T. olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 c. diced yellow onion
4 oz. crimini mushrooms, halved (baby portobello)
1/4 c. Madeira wine or Dry Sherry
2 heaping T. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 - 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (or more if you really  like spicy)
1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. light cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. ziti cooked al dente
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and add chicken thighs. Sear them on all sides until lightly browned. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, add onion and cook for  few minutes until they begin to soften. Add garlic and mushrooms to the pan, and continue to cook about 5 more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine or sherry, then add the chicken broth and thyme. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Bring this to a boil, and put the chicken back into the pan. Add the salt and a little pepper, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cooked ziti and the cream and toss the whole dish together. Cover and let it sit 5 minutes. Serve in a shallow bowl sprinkled with Parmesan. Serves 4.

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