Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Piccata with Orzo

Happy Valentine's Day! Yesterday we celebrated St. Valentine - the saint of lovers and yesterday I made chicken piccata for dinner. It was my gift to Shaun and honestly it was all I could do after the amazing steak dinner he bought me at Mooo in Boston Sunday night. I gave him the option to have any meal he wanted me to cook for him - and he chose chicken piccata.

This specific recipe was adapted from Cooking Light but I usually just wing it when I'm in the kitchen making it... which is why you will see a few additions below. If you run a general Google search you will find TONS of different recipes for this dish. Chicken piccata is a traditional Italian dish and sometimes made with veal (also delicious). The word piccata translates to mean spicy or piquant which is a result of the salty capers and tart lemon juice.

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tsp grated lemon rind
4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup flour 
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp capers

1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain. Stir in rind. (I added the rind into the sauce, which in turn was spooned over the orzo.)
2. While orzo cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. I also pounded out the chicken nice and thin and dredged it in flour before putting it in the pan. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
3. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Add broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat; add butter; stirring until butter melts. Stir in parsley and capers. Serve over orzo. I doubled the sauce ingredients because we both LOVE to soak the orzo with the sauce.

I served this chicken dish with arugula (dressed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper) alongside roasted asparagus. I think this is a restaurant-quality meal that anyone can make at home and it is just as delightful! It is a simple dish to add into your repertoire - along with some other classics - Scaloppine, Rollatini and Saltimbocca. Believe me, it is easier to make the dishes than say them in Italian. Look out for those in later posts - Tutti Mangia!


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