Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the best noodles i've ever made

    I don't cook a lot of noodles because I find them a little boring. Sure, you can put tasty things on them (like butter) and give them flavor, but on their own they're really not that exciting. There are a few notable exceptions, like the homemade pasta at Pagliacci's downtown, but on the whole if I have a choice between eating a bowl of noodles or something with flavor, i'll choose the latter. This is an incredibly easy and delicious weeknight meal.

   "So Dan," you're thinking, "how did you actually make noodles that are delicious?" That's a great question, and one of the main reasons I like you. You always come up with intelligent questions, not to mention you're quite attractive. Well, I will share that with you right........ now.

chicken and linguine with grape tomatoes and mozzarella

serves 4, prep to table should be about 30ish mins.

What you need:
4 chicken breasts, seasoned and cooked (if you want my marinade which goes really well i'll put it after the pasta recipe.)
1 package Linguine (or your favorite pasta. Not sure if the capellini would work as well though.)
1 26 oz box of Chicken Stock
8-12 oz grape tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz fresh milk mozzarella (smoked mozzarella or gouda would go well also!)
Salt and Pepper

1. Turn the chicken on about medium low heat and let it cook as you're doing all of this. I'm not going to explain how to cook chicken because you should know that by now.

2. Preheat oven to 400º. Pour a bit of olive oil, approx. 1 tbsp, over the tomatoes in a bowl to evenly coat them. Season them liberally with salt and pepper. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pour the coated tomatoes and place them in the hot oven for about 12 minutes to roast them until the skin looks like you've been in the bathtub far too long.

the poor, unsuspecting tomatoes.
they're so trusting.

3. Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan over medium/med high heat. In a skillet pan put the raw pasta and turn it on medium low to just gently warm the pasta. Once the chicken stock is boiling, pour it about 1 cup at a time over the noodles. Go ahead and turn that pasta pan up to medium now, too. As the pasta starts to soften KEEP STIRRING otherwise it may stick together. When the noodles have almost completely absorbed the first cup of liquid, add another. And once that's all absorbed, guess what? Add the rest and don't stop stirring and it will absorb all of the liquid.

4. Cut the mozzarella in to about 1" cubes and stir in to the pasta. It should start to get deliciously melty about now. Don't add the tomatoes first because they'd just fall apart while you're stirring and getting that cheese worked through the dish. Once you're satisfied with the meltiness (i just made that word up) of your cheese, gently fold in the tomatoes, plate up, top with the chicken breast, and enjoy!

Chicken Marinade, Re di Italia

This chicken marinade may or may not ACTUALLY be the king of Italy, but i'll let you decide. You can do this 15 minutes or 8 hours before, and the longer you let it marinade the more flavor you'll have imbued in to your breasts. Chicken breasts, that is. (Low brow joke #1 of the day.)

What you need:

1 1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic finely grated
2 tbsp dried Italian Herbs (I used Spice Islands brand blend which I found to be pretty tasty, but just about every brand consists of a mixture of Oregano, Marjoram, Savory, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, and Sage)
1/4 cup olive oil (this is about the only way I will cook chicken anymore. Most homemade marinades require olive oil and it makes the chicken so moist and flavorful I highly recommend it.)
1 tbsp dijon mustard (sounds weird, but go with it)

Put these all in a zip lock bag and mix it up, add the chicken and let it flavor for as much time as you can afford. It'll take you 5 minutes to put this together and the payoff is tenfold.

With a meal so delicious and beautiful, you'll be able to fool anyone that you spent all day working on it. In fact, I recommend you don't dispel that idea either; they'll feel bad and do all the dishes.

Happy Cooking!


  1. 2. Preheat oven to 400º. Pour a bit of olive oil, approx. 1 tbsp, over the olives in a bowl and evenly coat them.

    Do you mean over the tomatoes?

  2. oops. I must have had olives on the mind. :) Thanks for catching that!