Monday, April 11, 2011

Olive Garden's Tuscan Garlic Chicken

I have made this twice in the past month, and I wouldn't be shocked if it appears on our dinner menu again some time soon. I first made this a couple of weeks ago when we had some new neighbors over for dinner and then I made it again this past Sunday when we had Brad's parents over for dinner. I love this meal. It is filling and flavorful and you really do feel like you are eating Olive Garden in your own home.

Now for some notes. Mel from Mel's kitchen Cafe where I found this recipe said the recipe didn't lend a heap of sauce. Being a sauce lover, I decided to double the sauce portion of the recipe and it was perfect. However, that being said, though I don't mind mild flavor of peppers or capsicums as I know them in my food, I don't LOVE it when the pepper flavor overpowers a meal. Therefore, in doubling the sauce, I didn't double the amount of red pepper. In fact I used half of one large red bell pepper. So...if pepper's are your thing add more, if you are sensitive to them like my family is, add less.

I'm also slightly irritated that the pic isn't very good. You will just have to trust me when I tell you this meal is wonderful! Cooking the chicken this way makes for a moist and flavorful cut of chicken and the sauce is decadent but not too heavy.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

*Note: if the chicken breasts you are using are overly thick, you can butterfly them, cutting all the way through so you end up with two thinner cuts of chicken breast.
*Serves 4-6 (depending on if you are serving adults or kids)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach- I just eyeballed this and ended up using about 2.5 cups spinach which I had sliced relatively thinly.
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine- I used wholewheat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they’ll finish up in the oven). Don’t scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil! Let the oil work it’s magic to sear the crust on the chicken. If you get all antsy and try flipping too early and/or moving the chicken around the pan, the breading is lightly to fall off. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Original Recipe Source: adapted from More of America’s Most Wanted Recipes


Jill said...

Looks wonderful!

Sherry G said...

That sauce over top the chicken looks incredible! This recipe would be a big hit at my house.