After being so thrilled with the flavors of my roasted chickens with herb butter, I had leftover chicken to create an equally exciting dish. I was in a pasta mood; it had been awhile since we’d had pasta. Once it warms up outside we stick to grilling with easy side dishes. But with winter approaching, inside cooking was necessary.
I wanted angel hair pasta. I also was in the mood for black olives. I love them cooked, in salads, or straight out of the can into my mouth. I could imagine them with chicken and pasta. I found a recipe on Food52 that sounded like what I had in mind. Simple but intense flavors.
The recipe has a very long list of ingredients but they are pretty much all things you will find in your pantry or fridge. And the white wine? If you don’t have a ¼ cup sitting around, it’s a good excuse to pop out to the store and buy a bottle. I usually have one in the fridge that I only use for cooking.
I had leftover chicken but you could as easily buy rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It’s almost as good as home roasted and definitely quicker than roasting a chicken just to make this recipe! You could take your stress out on the chicken- tearing the pieces from the bones and doing a zombie impersonation. Ignore that. Sometimes I do a little role playing when I’m cooking. Joking.
I put a nonstick skillet on the stove at medium high and added the oil and garlic cloves. They browned fast, and next I added the white wine. I let that cook the alcohol off for a few minutes then added the lemon juice, chicken stock and I did have pan juices to add to the skillet. I used those and made up the balance of the 2/3 cup and 3 tablespoons with chicken broth.
I let the liquid come to a boil, lowered the heat and let the liquid reduce down by about 1/3. I taste tested and added salt and pepper. I added the chicken, black olives, lemon zest and pepper flakes to the pan and let them heat through, about 5 minutes.
In the meantime I’d brought a pot of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt and cooked the angel hair pasta until it was al dente. I drained the pasta and reserved a few cups of pasta water.
I added the pasta to the skillet and tossed it, heating it with the sauce. I added some pasta water when the angel hair had soaked up most of the sauce. I added another cup or so total, since I wanted sauce on the pasta when it was served.
I stirred in the parsley and some shaved parmesan. I served the pasta on plates topped with more shaved parmesan. I was totally out of shredded parm or I would have stirred that into the pasta instead.
We enjoyed the pasta for dinner. I’m a huge black olive fan, and can eat a whole can by myself in no time. I had wondered how they would be whole, cooked, and now I know. Delicious! My P.S. thought I should have sliced them or used a can of sliced ones, but I liked having the whole olive with a bit of the sauce on it in my mouth. It was just different enough to be charming.
The pasta and chicken were good of course. The bit of lemon zest and lemon juice comes through very well and makes it seem like a lighter dish. Between the lemon and the black olive, I was loving every bite. The little bit of heat from the pepper flakes made the dish pop in a slightly spicy way as well. It’s a great mix of flavors!
Roasted Chicken, Black Olives and Lemon Spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (I used minced from a jar)
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cups chicken stock
2 to 3 tablespoons defatted pan juices from roasting chicken (or more chicken stock)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
12 or 16 ounce box spaghetti; cooked according to box directions (I used angel hair- it’s thinner and cooks faster so beware)
1 can whole black olives (pitted of course)
1 1/2 cup roasted chicken; torn into small pieces (or diced, whatever you prefer)
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional but please use, it is just a tiny touch of heat)
1 tablespoon parsley; minced
1/4- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
Cook the pasta in salted water according to box directions for al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or so of the pasta water.
In a nonstick skillet over medium heat add a large drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and let it gently cook until it just begins to turn golden. Add the red pepper flakes, stir then add the white wine and let the alcohol burn off.
Add the lemon juice, stock and pan juices. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the liquid reduce by a third. Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Add the chicken and let it heat through for a few minutes.
Add the drained pasta to the skillet along with the olives and lemon zest. Taste test for seasonings again. Add pasta water in small amounts as the sauce is absorbed by the pasta. We want it wet enough to have a sauce.
Toss to combine and when the olives are heated through, add the parsley, toss again,
Serve with lots of parmesan.
3-4 medium sized servings
Adapted from Food 52