Chicken Picatta

The first time I ever had chicken picatta, I was at California Pizza Kitchen. I had no idea what capers were, but it was chicken, lemon, and pasta, so I figured I’d try it. I instantly loved the flavors. Moist, dredged chicken over thin angel hair pasta is drenched in a bright, zingy lemon sauce. Capers add a pop of brine to counter any sweetness from the cream-based sauce. To this day, it is still my order of choice at CPK.

Trying to make it at home seemed daunting, probably because I was worried about making a chicken picatta that would meet the same standards as the restaurant. The lemony chicken pasta I’ve made before is similar, but heavier than this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in half
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Instructions:

1) Salt a pot of water, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.

2) Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge the chicken in flour.

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Don’t let the chicken sit too long with the flour before cooking. It won’t be as crispy.

3) Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, flipping once, for about 4-5 minutes per side.

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4) Melt 2 Tbsp butter in the skillet again. Add the garlic and shallots. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.

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Don’t wash the pot! The brown stuff from the chicken will help flavor the sauce.

5) Stir in the chicken broth, wine, and lemon juice. Cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

6) Slowly whisk in heavy cream until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the capers.

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I don’t think I let my sauce thicken enough, but at least the flavor was good.

7) Serve pasta with sauce and chicken.

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Final Thoughts: There are a few food bloggers whose recipes I will always recommend. Chungah of Damn Delicious is one of those bloggers. Her recipes never fail to be delicious and easy to execute. I wish I had let my sauce thicken, but it had a strong lemon flavor. Boyfriend dislikes capers, but I love the “pop” of brininess. Any tips on improving the consistency of the sauce?

 

 

Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce

Starting Foodie Learns to Cook Version 2.0 doesn’t mean that I want to completely abandon the progress I’ve already made. From 2015 to the end of 2017 I’ve cooked and baked dozens of recipes. With my boyfriend’s photography skills and a little more experience under my belt, I’ll be re-visiting those old recipes and moving them here to the new blog.

When I first made this I only barely managed to make the pasta and chicken. At the end of my old post, I noted that I would have liked to have some vegetables with it. I made roasted asparagus this time, but I won’t share that here right now. If you want to make a full meal, you can use bagged steam-able vegetables or even canned vegetables.

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This recipe comes from Kevin & Amanda, a husband-wife cooking team. Check out their website for the full recipe and their instructions for Crispy Lemon Chicken Pasta.

This is a simple meal to put-together, but it may not be the healthiest of all recipes. The chicken is “dredged,” meaning the chicken is coated in flour prior to being pan-fried in butter. This creates some texture contrast between the pasta and the thick, creamy sauce.

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Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, pounded to about 1/2 in. thick
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

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Some notes about these ingredients. I don’t think it really matters what kind of pasta you use. If you have shells or bow-ties in your pantry, they’ll work just as well. I love angel hair, so that’s what I used, but even fettuccine noodles are an acceptable substitution.

Also, you will need a way to zest the lemon. Zesting means taking either a zester or cheese grater to the rind of the lemon and grating off a bit of the peel. I didn’t realize my boyfriend didn’t have one so I had to make due. Trust me it’s much easier to just use the zester.

Directions

1) “Cook your pasta according to the package.” Boil lightly salted water. Add the pasta and cook as directed. Drain and set aside.

2) Pound your raw chicken flat. You can do this with a meat mallet or rolling pin.

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If I remember correctly, I actually used a hammer the first time. It was all I had.

3) Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic salt on both sides.

There are measurements in the ingredients if you’re not sure, but this is fairly simple to do without measuring. Pour a little into your hand and rub it directly onto the chicken. I completely forgot the garlic salt, but it didn’t drastically change the flavor of the chicken.

4) “Dredge” the chicken. Pour some flour onto a plate. Once the chicken has been coated in spices, place the chicken onto the flour and coat it thoroughly.

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5) Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the butter is hot and starts to turn brown, add the chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then flip the chicken onto the other side and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Do not clean out the pan!

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I had my heat higher and still needed longer than 3-5 minutes per side. I ran into this problem the first time I made this chicken. My chicken may not be pounded thin enough. When I first removed the chicken, it was still underdone. (I don’t care what the Internet says, there is no such thing as “medium rare” chicken.) There’s no shame in putting it back in the pan to finish cooking. Add extra butter if you need it.

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6) In the same pan, add the remaining 4 Tbsp butter. Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream and bring to a simmer (meaning it should be bubbling).

7) Add the lemon juice and zest. Whisk to combine. Reduce the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and whisk until smooth.

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Here’s another part where you can take the recipe as a suggestion. Add cheese a little at a time. Taste it! If you think it needs more cheese, add some more. If it tastes just right, then it’s ready to serve. It should be slightly thick, creamy, and have a light lemon flavor.

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8) Serve hot!

You can lay the chicken on top of your pasta, then drizzle the sauce. It’s up to you!

Cooking my lunches every week had gotten to the point where cooking seemed more like a chore. Going back to one of the first recipes I ever made, then cooking it all over again really shows the progress I’ve made. A good photographer doesn’t hurt either.

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What I Learned:

My mise en place was a mess. I was cooking in someone else’s kitchen with ingredients that someone else purchased for me. I didn’t have garlic salt and nearly forgot to put pepper on the chicken. I love garlic so I think it would have put this dinner over the top.

My boyfriend’s house is still something of a bachelor pad. He didn’t have a zester. I’m so used to having one that I didn’t think to ask until it was time to zest the lemon. We ended up using a vegetable peeler then essentially mincing the zest.

Cooking the chicken all the way through seems to be a recurring issue with this recipe. I would err on the side of caution and cook each side for 5 minutes at least, then cook more if needed.

I’m very proud that I was able to balance everything and cook a full meal. All of the food finished around the same time so I could serve it hot. This isn’t the first meal I’ve ever made for my boyfriend, but it is one of the most put together. Looking back I never thought I’d be able to make a real meal for my boyfriend. It may have taken a little longer than expected, but at the end of the day we got to sit and share a tasty meal.

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Give this recipe a try! What mistakes did you make? Did you change anything about the recipe? Comment and share the pictures of your food!