Sunday, December 7, 2008

Boring Leftover Pasta? No Problem!

Imagine for a moment that you are a twenty-five year old law student. Imagine that you are visiting your parents with The Fiance. Imagine that you are hungry.

Now imagine that you get horribly outvoted by your non-foodie parents and your suddenly-taken-leave-of-his-senses Fiance and have to go to Olive Garden.

Take a moment to mourn now. I'm sure you need it.

So you go. (Grudgingly of course.) And you eat. (But you don't enjoy it.)

And then you bring home the leftover linguine which is supposedly richly flavored with a garlic-butter-wine sauce. (But is of course completely flavorless, if creamy.)

Now since you are that twenty-five year old law student... you have tight funds and thus cannot afford to just waste food.

But... you don't really want to eat... whatever you want to call that pasta dish.

So what do you do?

Don't worry. I'll tell you. =)

OG Pasta Make-Over
-leftover boring/flavorless/tasteless pasta in the form of linguine
-1-2 chicken breasts
-olive oil
-white wine

Now I'm not a big fan of chicken breast so I like to dice it into bite sized pieces before cooking but I suppose if you like it better than I do then you can leave it in one chunk or slice it into strips. Either way. Dump it in a bowl and coat it in olive oil, basil and garlic. Then get out a frying pan - any kind but non-stick. If you get out the non-stick, do not pass go and do not make this recipe.

I'm not being elitist here. I swear. It's just that you really need the properties of those sticky pans for this to work.

Okay so heat up your good ole sticky pan with some more olive oil. Then when it's nice and sizzley (Yes it is a word! I'm a law student and I get to make up terminology!) , you want to get your chicken in there and then... leave it alone.

Yes I said it.

Don't touch the chicken! Leave that spatula be! For the love of all that is delicious, let the meat brown!

Phew. Okay. So once it's brown on one side, flip or otherwise move it around so it browns the other side.

Repeat until perfect browning has been achieved. Then remove the chicken to a bowl - I'd recommend a clean one. Salmonella is not your friend.

This might be a good time to get those leftover pasta thingies out of the fridge. It's best to get them to room temperature.

Anyhow, that's where that wine comes in. Pour it into the pan until it covers the bottom and using a nice wooden spoon scrape up all those glorious brown bits of awesome. Stir some more and let the wine cook off a little. Here I'd add some butter, just a tablespoon or two, to thicken the sauce. But if you're really against that sort of thing, I suppose you can leave it out. If you must.

Then add the chicken back into the pan along with the pasta. I like to add a little more garlic too. Stir that about, salt and pepper it, stir some more. And then... well this would be the eating part.

Mmm. Chickeny-pastay-garlicky goodness.

(Now if only Olive Garden would learn how to do that!)


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