Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chicken Thighs in Tomato Sauce With Penne


So basic.  So delicious.  You have to make this!  And you will be so happy that you did.  Every Thursday I have dinner with my Grandmother.  And every other Thursday I bring dinner.  I am always looking for something that I can make the night before and something that will appeal to both of us.  I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog and I changed it a bit because she used chicken thighs with the skin and bone - I am not a fan of chicken skin and personally I don't want to be pulling bones out of my pasta.  But you need the flavor so I added pancetta - yup - bacony goodness.  This is quick to put together but then you have to be patient and let it bubble away for an hour and a half.  Make sure you have the time because it is worth it.

Get the tunes cranking!  Keb Mo was my choice last night.  And then a little Samuel James.  Good stuff.

1 onion - chopped
4 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 package of cubed pancetta (if you can't find it you could use about 6 strips of thick cut bacon, cubed)
1 package of skinless boneless chicken thighs (the package I got had 6)
1 jar of tomato sauce (I like Newman's Own Traditional Herb)
olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat penne
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat olive oil, about 2 tbls., in large skillet with a lid (you'll need the lid when you put it in the oven) or a dutch oven.  My nice cast iron dutch oven is still packed away somewhere - I know, I know, I moved in April!  I'll get it out this weekend.  When the oil is hot dump in the pancetta.  Be careful, it will probably splatter back at you.  Let the pancetta cook for about four minutes until it starts to get crispy.  Salt and pepper the chicken and then use tongs to add it to the pan.  Make sure each piece of chicken is touching the bottom of the pan so it can brown.  Wait about two minutes and then flip the chicken.  Wait another two minutes or so then pull the chicken and the crispy pancetta cubes out of the pan.  Set aside on a plate.  Saute the onions and garlic in the oil/fat that is left in the pan, about four minutes, you don't want the garlic to burn.

Pour in your jar of tomato sauce and let it warm up.  Stand back.  It will pop and splatter back if you aren't careful.  Use the tongs to put the chicken into the sauce - push the chicken right under the sauce.  Scrape in the pancetta and any drippings that have accumulated on the plate.  Get all that goodness in there!  Pop the lid on the pan and into the oven for an hour and a half.  

Now the hard part.  Your kitchen smells amazing and you are starving.  The hangries (hungry - angries) aren't far away.  Find a snack.  And remove yourself from the kitchen.  The dishes can wait.  Vacuum upstairs, get the laundry together and into the machine, wrap some Christmas presents and feed the dog.

When the bubbling chicken bacon tomato goodness has ten minutes left in the oven start your pasta.  Cook it according to the package.  Remember whole wheat pasta usually takes a little longer then regular pasta.  Grate the parmesan and get your salad or green veggies ready.  If you feel like cheating a little, and you like broccoli, let the broccoli cook with the pasta - just fish it out with a slotted spoon before you drain the pasta.  Now you are ready!  Fill your bowl with pasta get one chicken thigh and plenty of delicious sauce out of the pan and top with parmesan.  Gobble up.  Repeat if you are afraid of the hangries coming back in the night!

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