This delicious one pan chicken pasta recipe comes in handy at the perfect time…
We arrived home early one afternoon after a long weekend in Florida. When we left the airport, I brought up the question: “What about dinner tonight? Let’s stop at the store on the way home and pick up something.”
We really didn’t feel like going to the grocery store first thing after a flight, though, so Viana came up with a better question: “How about you come up with a dinner entirely from your pantry.
Sometimes, a question following a question answers the first question. Really! Think about it for a second.
So, home we went and the first thing I did – after greeting the cats – was take a couple chicken thighs out of the freezer and put them in a bowl of lukewarm water. These were two big bone-in chicken thighs with skin-on. They’ll take at least an hour to thaw…plenty of time of unpack from our trip and come up with a meal idea.
After putting the laundry in the washer and the suitcase was put away, I went to check if there was anything available in our garden yet. It’s only mid-May, and so far, this spring has been cold and wet. But I got lucky…one good-sized asparagus was standing tall and ready for harvest. I snapped it off at the base and went back into the kitchen. I was also happy to see that my basil plant on the windowsill survived beautifully during our five-day absence.
There’s one more thing I use a lot, which I didn’t mention in my Essential Pantry: Dried mushrooms. I’ll cover these and some other extremely useful ingredients in an upcoming series, Extended Essential Pantry. I always have a container of dried shiitake on the countertop. Just grab a handful and soak them in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes. Chop them up and you’re all set. Never, ever pour away the liquid. This stuff is an umami bomb. Always add it to your cooking. Just simply deduct it from the amount of water that’s required for the recipe. For example, in this recipe, after soaking the dried mushrooms, I was left with about 1/2 c of “mushroom broth” so I only used 3-1/2 c of chicken stock, for a total of 4 c liquid.
I was all set. The chicken thighs ended up taking nearly 1-1/2 hours to defrost until they were ready to be patted dry and seasoned with paprika, salt, and pepper. In a large, high-sided skillet, I heated up some oil and browned the chicken thighs for about 5 minutes per side.
Don’t worry if some of the skin gets stuck to the pan…that’s a good thing. Then, I added the chopped shallots and garlic and sautéed them, while scraping the stuck chicken bits from the bottom of the pan for a minute.
Next I added the liquid and the pasta, and brought everything to a boil.
Once the water was boiling, I added diced tomatoes, chopped asparagus, and shiitake, and kept it boiling until the pasta was al dente and most of the water had been absorbed. If the water evaporates too quickly, feel free to add some more.
One important point I would like to make about salt in one-pan pasta dishes: Normally, when you cook pasta in a pot of boiling water, you want the water to be salty. After the pasta is cooked, you drain the water and most of the salt will be gone. However, when you cook your pasta as outlined here, most of the water will be absorbed by the pasta and the rest will be part of the sauce, so ALL the salt you added will be part of your dish. It’s better to just lightly salt your dish during cooking and then salt to taste at the very end.
One of the most amazing things about this one-pan pasta dish is the consistency of the sauce. It has a silky, nearly creamy quality that makes you think you added butter or even a little cream, but no, it’s all the released starch from the pasta that makes this sauce so delicious. As far as I know, this wouldn’t work with gluten-free pasta, sorry.
Remember I mentioned that the thighs I used were really big and bone-in? Unfortunately, after the pasta was al dente and I cut one thigh open to the bone, there was still some pink meat visible and the juices didn’t run totally clear. No problem, I took out the pasta and sauce, added some more oil, cranked up the heat, and cooked the thighs for another couple minutes per side until they were done. But I made a mental note that next time I’ll try skinless, boneless chicken thighs, so everything is done at the same time.
And that’s it! I sprinkled some extra-virgin olive oil over the whole dish and added some shredded basil leaves and shaved Parmesan. We had an absolutely delicious dinner without having to order out or stop at a store. Please try it yourself, be creative, use what you have, and share your results with us!
“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” ~ Mark Twain
Love one-pan meals? Check out more of our one-pan recipes:
- One-Pan Pasta, Deliciousness from the Pantry and Two Fresh Ingredients
- Deliciously Creamy One-Pan Chicken and Beans
- One-Pan Butternut Squash Risotto with Mushrooms
- Sheet-Pan Dinner: Hanger Steak with Mushrooms and Carrots
- Sheet Pan Butternut Squash with Spicy Italian Sausage
- Super Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil
Love pasta? Check out more of our pasta recipes now:
- How to Make Homemade Pasta
- Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
- One Pan Pasta, Deliciousness Made from Your Pantry and Two Fresh Ingredients
- Snappy Shrimp, Hot Pepper Flakes, and Garlic Breath
- Butternut Squash Pasta
- A Twist on a Classic Pesto Recipe
- Homemade Black Squid Ink Pasta
- Super Easy Oven Baked Cod
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No Time to Go Shopping? No Problem With This Delicious One-Pan Pasta Made From The Essential Pantry
- 2-4 chicken thighs, depending on size
- 12 oz pasta
- 4 c chicken stock (or 4 c water and two Knorr chicken bouillon cubes)
- 1 Tbsp canola oil (or any neutral oil)
- 1 tsp salt, plus salt to taste
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (or 1 c chopped fresh tomatoes)
- 1 c chopped vegetables (I found an asparagus in the garden)
- 4 dried shiitake, soaked until softened and chopped
- 4 basil leaves, shredded (that's what they call chiffonade in fancy cookbook slang)
- 2 oz shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other hard cheese)
- Chop and slice all your vegetables.
- Season patted-dry chicken thighs with paprika, salt, & pepper.
- Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet and brown chicken thighs 5 minutes per side.
- Add shallots and garlic and sauté for a minute while scraping stuck chicken bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add chicken stock and pasta, and bring to a boil.
- Add tomatoes, vegetables, and shiitake.
- Cook until pasta is al dente, stir occasionally, add more water if liquid evaporates too quickly.
- Salt to taste, garnish with some basil leaves and cheese, and serve.
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