Green Spaghettini with Crispy Chicken Cutlets

I’m gaga over fresh basil.  It just tastes green, and light and summery all at the same time.

This recipe is not really a pesto, as it contains no nuts.  It’s not technically a pistou either, as the shallots and garlic are softened through cooking, and it is best served warm or at room temperature instead of cold.  The shallot, basil and garlic combine for a lovely, mellow flavor, enhanced by a bit of quality parmesan. The addition of the chicken cutlets transform it into a full-fledged meal as opposed to a side.

Ah, and what chicken this is!  Juicy and tender on the inside, crispy on the outside.  As it is fried in the bare minimum of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan), it is not greasy in the least. Depending upon the size of the chicken cutlets (also called chicken tenders or breast fillets), you may have some left over.  Fret not – they make excellent chicken sandwiches!  The cooked chicken cutlets will keep in an airtight container for up to three days in the refrigerator.

Green Spaghettini with Crispy Chicken Cutlets
Serves four. 

Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets (skinless)
3/4 to 1 cup italian bread crumbs
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, for frying

Spaghettini:
1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
4 ounces fresh basil leaves, blanched*
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound spaghettini or angel hair pasta

For the chicken:  In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk with a fork until well combined. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skilled on medium high heat.  Dip chicken cutlets in egg mixture, then roll through breadcrumbs, making sure each cutlet is completely coated. Gentle shake off any excess coating.  Place in skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook cutlets in a single layer, 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy. Season alternate side with salt and pepper after turning.  Place on a plate lined with paper towels and tent with foil to keep warm.

For the spaghettini:  In a small saucepan, heat olive oil on medium.  Add shallot to the olive oil and cook until tender but not browned (if the shallot starts to brown, lower heat immediately).  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in blanched basil.  Allow to cool slightly for two or three minutes, then place mixture in a blender or food processor and puree, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste and pulse until incorporated.  Cover and set aside.

In a separate pot, heat water and cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente.  Drain pasta without rinsing, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.  Return to pot and add reserved basil/shallot mixture, tossing well until pasta is fully coated and glossy.  If pasta appears dry, drizzle in reserved cooking liquid as necessary while tossing.  Divide evenly among plates, top with reserved chicken cutlets (2-3 per plate), sprinkle with additional parmesan and serve immediately.

* To blanch the basil leaves:  After rinsing thoroughly with cool water, tear leaves from stems.  Add leaves to a medium saucepan of boiling water, stirring gently for about 7 to 10 seconds.  With a slotted spoon, remove leaves, placing them on a clean kitchen towel. Blot well to remove excess water.

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2 thoughts on “Green Spaghettini with Crispy Chicken Cutlets

  1. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Many thanks

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