Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kosher Chicken Florentine

This pasta dish reminds me of a trip to Florence I made with my friends Mandy, Lisa and Aaron in 2004, which was yummy and fun.

Everything in Florence is made with spinach, tomatoes and garlic. It's like a law or something. Those Italians! That's why everything in America that is flavored with spinach, tomatoes and garlic is called Florentine. But I am not complaining because it is a classic flavor combination which is always refreshing and pleasant. The combination also lends itself well to kosher or vegetarian cooking because meat is not really needed in the dish. I added chicken to give heft to a weeknight meal. This is a great dish to serve on a warmish night in the Sukkah!!

3-4 chicken pieces on the bone with skins, baked until crispy
1 white or yellow onion, pureed or diced tiny
extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large can tomato puree
1/2 cup water or a small can of tomato sauce
1 cup frozen spinach pieces (I use Bodek)
1/2 cup black olives, sliced (I recommend Martini's Select Natural Kalamata Olives, available at Trader Joe's for a STEAL and certified Star-K. Thanks, Lewis!!!)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 box pasta (I used Barilla Whole Grain Shells), prepared according to package directions.

Once the chicken is baked and cooled, remove the skins and cut pieces off the bone into bite size pieces, as for chicken salad. Set aside.

In a deep saucepan, combine pureed or diced onions with the chopped garlic and olive oil and cook until lightly browned. Add tomato product(s) and herbs/spices. Cook for five minutes or so to let the flavors come together. Now, add the spinach, chicken and olives, and bring back to a simmer for at least ten minutes. Next, combine pasta with sauce and place, covered, in a warm oven, for half an hour if possible. This will help the flavors of the warm spinach and chicken marry with the pasta.


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