Monday, August 2, 2010

John's Chicken with Orzo

The result of one of my husband’s culinary experiments, this chicken dish has all the familiar comfort of Chicken Parmesan, with some lemony, peppery intrigue. One night when it was my beloved’s turn to cook dinner, he scraped this together with things we had in the kitchen, and now it is one of my favorite meals! We made this last night for John’s parents and all devoured it happily. 



One small to medium onion, cut in thin strips or minced

Minced garlic, four or five cloves or 2 ½ tsp. of minced from the little jar

Extra virgin olive oil

Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not too fat) or cutlets (not too thin) (you know, just right)

Juice from one lemon

One package of orzo pasta

Approx. 2 cups (or more if you like) of spaghetti sauce from a jar, made with red peppers like Bertolli’s Arrabbiata or Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic and Peppers.

Shredded parmesan or mozzarella (or both) to taste

Lemon-pepper seasoning

Salt and pepper


 Bring water to boil in medium-sized pot for pasta. When water boils add pasta (usually about ½ to ¾ of the package). Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.

 Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan or electric skillet (with high side walls). Sauté onions and most of the garlic in the oil, until the onions turn golden and translucent. Remove from the pan, set aside.

Note: I added the onions to this recipe, because I love onions!

 Add some more olive oil to the pan. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces, and add them to the pan or skillet. Squirt with lemon juice (make sure to save a little for the pasta) and sauté until golden brown on each side (about 4 minutes each depending on thickness). Add the onions back to the pan just before the chicken is done cooking.

Note: Do not cover the pan while the chicken is cooking, you don’t want to steam the chicken. 

 When chicken is done cooking, pour spaghetti sauce generously over each chicken breast or cutlet. Sprinkle as much cheese as you like over each piece of chicken. Cover the pan or skillet until the cheese has melted to form a nice snowcap to your chicken and tomato sauce mountain.

 When the orzo is done, drain and return to the pot or pour into a serving bowl. Stir a generous slice of butter into the pasta (or ½ tablespoon of olive oil) along with some lemon juice, and season with the lemon pepper seasoning to taste (probably about a teaspoon or so).


Serve how you like. John likes his chicken and sauce right on top of the orzo and I like min sort of just overlapping my orzo. Peas or a green salad are a wonderful compliment to this entree.


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