A Squared: What's for Dinner Wednesday: Top Chef Chicken Rigatoni

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday: Top Chef Chicken Rigatoni

One of our favorite Wednesday activities (aside from blogging for What's for Dinner Wednesday, of course) is watching Top Chef.  Alex and I have very different taste in all things entertainment, but Top Chef is one of the only shows that we can actually agree on and that we make a point to watch every week.

In honor of our favorite show, tonight's dinner is straight out of the Top Chef cookbook and another favorite in our house.  It's a great one pot dinner, it's fairly light, and a lot of the ingredients are things that we usually have on hand in the house already. Like last week's orzo recipe, it makes a huge amount for two people so there are plenty of leftovers for weekday lunches.  The recipe calls for the chicken to be tossed in with the pasta, but we actually grilled our chicken breasts separately and served them alongside the chicken-less pasta.  I also used whole grain penne to make this dinner a little healthier.


Chicken Rigatoni

Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
  • 1 ounce pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into thin rings
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup ground Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain, and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Heat a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Add the 2 tablespoons oil to the fat in the pan, then add the onion, pepper, shallot, and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté until the onion and pepper are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, or until softened. Add the wine, raise the heat, and stir until evaporated.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the onion-pepper mixture.

Add the pasta, olives, and pancetta to the onion-pepper mixture and heat to warm through. Just before serving, stir in the cheese, pine nuts, parsley, and rosemary, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

recipe courtesy of chefs Brian Malarkey and Sara Mair, Top Chef

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