My local supermarket had chicken thighs on sale this week. As I’m sure many of you do, I plan my menus around whatever’s on sale that week. I decided to make Chicken Spizzadino, a favorite meal my mother would make on occasion while I was growing up. She didn’t make it that often, and I’m not sure why. I, too, don’t make it that often—but I do know why! It’s very, very tasty, but it’s not allowed on any diet that I know of. It uses the above-mentioned chicken thighs (dark meat with higher fat) which one fries in olive oil. I haven’t calculated it, but that’s probably a couple of days’ worth of fat calories right there. After the chicken is cooked, along with lots of garlic and the remaining ingredients, it is served over pasta. OK, so now we’re over the day’s carb allowance as well. Don’t even think about serving it with a roll to sop up the tasty sauce it generates! If I ate meals like this all the time, I’d be in trouble—but the key, of course, is moderation.
Believe it or not, despite loving to bake (and eat!) desserts, and loving pasta which I could eat every day, I try to keep my blood sugar within range (if you’re familiar with it, think Zone Diet). Because there is a strong history of diabetes in my family, I try to keep my consumption of starchy carbs low and eat lots of good carb veggies. I make it a rule to eat a “rainbow” a day, and it’s not a hardship for me because I love fruits and vegetables. In recent years, I have cut down on the number of pasta meals I make; but I’m not a fanatic about it. When I have a desire for lasagna or baked ziti, I indulge and get back on track the next day.
I asked my mom for the translation of spizzadino. She said it means a chicken in bianco (in a white sauce) that you can make “quick.” So, tonight when I got home from work, I made Chicken Spizzadino. I normally won’t cook anything after work unless I can get it on the table in 30 minutes or less. Roger acted as my Swedish sous chef and had things set up for me; so, I easily made my 30-minute timeline. Great translation!
My mother has always cooked without looking at a recipe and, in fact, doesn’t own a cookbook. She never measures anything, yet it always comes out well. I’ve never asked her how she made this; I just knew how to make it from having eaten it. So, it was interesting to put this recipe down on “paper” for you after thinking about it and tweaking it. I paid close attention to what I was doing when I made it so that I could quantify it, and Roger and I and the girls really enjoyed the results.
I hope you try it sometime when you’re in the mood for Italian indulgence food and that your family enjoys it as we did. Be sure to sprinkle lots of Romano cheese when you serve it—it puts it over the top.
Back to salad with lots of gubbins for me tomorrow!
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 to 8 chicken thighs (only as many as can fit in a single layer in a large stockpot)
- 8 to 10 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 to 4 small potatoes or 2 large, diced into cubes about 1/2″ to 3/4″
- Approx. 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
- Approx. 2 cups frozen peas (no need to thaw)
- 3 to 4 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente – reserve several cups of pasta cooking water
- Lots of freshly grated Romano cheese for serving
Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large stockpot or Dutch oven (I use an 8-quart stockpot). Place chicken thighs in a single layer in pan. Sauté chicken with the crushed garlic until chicken is browned on both sides. Add diced potatoes and add enough water just to cover the chicken and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.
After approximately 5 minutes, add the frozen peas and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is fork tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.
Spoon chicken, potatoes, and peas, with their sauce over spaghetti. If you feel it needs more liquid to moisten, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water. Serve with Romano cheese to sprinkle on top of individual plates .
Source: A Mama Musto and frantastic original