Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mio Piatto Azzurro!

Mezze Maniche con Sugo di Pepe, Pollo & Pomodoro
Mezze Maniche with Peppers, Chicken and Tomato Sauce

I may not be the biggest soccer fan in the world- but when it comes to Italy playing against Germany of course- we all know who's side I am going to be on ;-)  And it also doesn't come as much of a  surprise that I had to come up with a pasta dish to honor the occasion. 

This hot and spicy, tangy and refreshing chicken and pepper sauce was improvised in just a few minutes... it had to go fast as I needed to get it done, the pics taken... and then warm it up for myself to eat whilst I watched the match... which we won of course as every one now knows!

I love this pasta- and especially the funny name, which translates into English as "half sleeves"- lol! Pretty funny way to describe a macaroni that is only half the length! Pretty adorable, no?
I brought my water to the boil, salted it well, and started them cooking. They are rather thick little noodles and will take 8-9 minutes to cook... which gives us time to get that sauce ready! Get that frying pan on the stove and get it hot fast!

The first thing that needs to go into the pan is the chicken, along with a few drops of olive oil to get it going... season simply with salt and pepper for the time being and get it lightly browned on all sides. This will take 3-4 minutes only- but it will also give you time to dice a red pointy pepper finely, along with a clove of garlic, and a handfull of parsley. 

Once the chicken is lightly brown, remove it from the pan and add the peppers, garlic, some diced onion and a tablespoon of tomato paste... this is how much I needed to make my single serving. After sautéeing everything for 2-3 minutes, deglaze with a little red wine, add a good pinch of oregano and a good splash of tabasco. Grate with nutmeg, add a bayleaf and add a little water until it becomes a nice consistency. Now reduce the heat to a slow simmer, return the chicken to the sauce... and get that pasta out of the water and drained and drizzled with olive oil!

After another 3-4 minutes of simmering, to bring the chicken back up to temperature and to reduce the sauce down a little, add the finely chopped parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil... and serve it on top of your yummy "half sleeves"! Sprinkle with grated salted ricotta cheese, sprinkle with coarsely ground fresh black pepper and garnish with basil... just delicious! A simple dish that not only made the Italian soccer team winners- but it will also make a winner out of you in the kitchen if you try it!

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