Chicken Thigh Pasta

Chicken Thigh Pasta Distracted Living
I’m looking forward to Thursday night. I am looking forward to Thursday night because I need a distraction from our current daily experience and it has offered up the perfect opportunity. Thursday night at 5:20 PM the NFL returns.

I am usually not one of those people who waits with bated breath for the NFL season to start every year—though I do enjoy watching the games. This year, for so many reasons, I really am looking forward to a few hours of not worrying about fires, viruses, or politics. I anticipate being more concerned about first downs and yards per carry. And, of course, I am looking forward to football food.

Now, since the game takes place in Texas and involves teams both from Texas and Kansas City you would think that BBQ would be on the menu. You would be wrong. I am steering clear of all things involving smoke and fire. So, because this first game is happening mid-week, I am not going to do the usual football spread and will go in a totally different direction.

I am going to go with a family comfort food favorite, Chicken Thigh Pasta, which I am shocked I haven’t written about before. This is my go-to recipe when I don’t know what the heck I wanna make for dinner. I could do it in my sleep at this point—and everyone in the family devours it. Also, I almost always have the ingredients on hand because, for me, they are pantry staples. The bonus is that it isn’t too bad for you health-wise. It’s easy, and tasty, and perfect for a no-hassle football meal.

Thursday night will be a short return to normal, whatever that means at this point. But, it won’t be “normal” for everyone. For those of you packing up your homes and preparing to evacuate, stay safe and know that you are in our thoughts. For our firefighters on the front lines, there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for your herculean efforts. For the rest of us Californians as well as our friends to the north in Oregon and Washington, we can and will get through this.

Chicken Thigh Pasta
Adapted from Ree Drummond and the Food Network
Yields 6 to 8 servings

Olive oil, as needed
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1 cup white wine, or Chicken Broth
Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package dried rigatoni, penne, or your favorite shaped pasta
Grated Parmesan, for topping (optional)
Fresh Basil, chopped (optional)

Cook the chicken thighs
Heat a large skillet until very hot and then generously drizzle in some olive oil. Add half of the cut-up chicken pieces, spreading them out as you put them in. Do not stir the chicken. You want the pieces to brown. After a minute or two, flip the chicken with a spatula and let brown on the other side. Remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces.

Cook the aromatics
Add a tablespoon or so of the olive oil, if needed, into the hot skillet and add the garlic and onions and give them a stir.

Deglaze the pan
Add the wine, whisking to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.

Finish the dish
Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, put a pot of water on the stove for the pasta and bring it to a boil.

Add the browned chicken as well as any juices from the plate to the tomato/onion mixture and continue simmering for another 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta
While the chicken is simmering, add the salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions until it is al dente (tender firm). Drain the pasta.

Assemble the dish
Put the pasta on a platter or in a large bowl and smother it with the sauce. Top the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese or chopped fresh basil (if using).

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