Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lemon Chicken Pasta

Happy Birthday Mom! She came down to visit this weekend for her birthday today, and we had a fabulous time touring around Catalina Island yesterday. But for me the best part of the weekend was cooking dinner with her today. I was supposed to make it, being that it was her birthday dinner and all, but I wanted her help in doctoring up a lemon pasta recipe I had. And as always, she came through and made it way better than it previously was.

This is an easy pasta recipe, with an oil based lemon sauce. You're going to start by cooking up some chicken is a saute pan with a bit of olive oil. I cut the chicken up into small strips, you'll add this to the pasta later. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, parsley and garlic powder. This chicken will brown better if you pat it dry with a paper towel before putting it in the pan.

When the chicken is done and browned, remove it from the pan, and add to the same pan 1 chopped onion and saute until soft. Then add four cloves minced garlic. You don't need to cook the garlic as long as the onion. We added a bit more oil to the pan to make sure we would have enough to coat the pasta, and threw in 1 Tbs of butter for good measure. We also added about 1/3-1/2 cup of pasta water. (Water from the pot cooking the pasta. We discussed chicken broth would probably work as well.) Add 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes to the mix also.

We cooked one pound of penne pasta. (We ended up not using about a handful of the cooked pasta.) Once the pasta was drained we mixed the sauce with the pasta and added the juice of about one and half lemons, 3 Tbs of fresh parsley and about 1/2 C. grated Parmesan. Throw the chicken back in, make sure it was kept warm, and you're pretty much good to go.

Of course you're welcome to adjust the amount of lemon juice you use, keep in mind the one and a half lemons is a very lemony taste. And if you want more heat, add more red pepper flakes.

We all loved this dish, it had a very fresh flavor, the chicken added some depth, and just the right amount of heat. But the best part for me was cooking dinner with my Mom. Thanks Mom, I love you!

Oh- and for birthday cake we had a repeat of the coconut cake I made for Brittany's birthday. Once again, a major crowd pleaser.

Lemon Chicken Recipe:
1 pound dried penne
2 chicken cutlets, cut into fingers
Salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbs butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pasta water

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain well, reserve some of the water.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Heat a large grill pan over medium high and add chicken. Grill until golden and completely cooked. Remove to a plate and slice.

Saute onion in same pan, add the garlic and red pepper flakes to with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add pasta water and butter.

Add the cooked pasta and lemon juice. Mix in fresh parsley, cheese, and chicken.


  1. This looks delicious! I'm sorry I missed it! Instead I was eating rice and beans for 4 days straight.

  2. Delicious, Melissa and Debbie! We just ate this for dinner tonight. My mom gave me a bunch of lemons and this was a great way to put them to good use! The fresh lemons make the difference, I think. Thanks for the recipe! ---Stephanie M.


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