It’s not how fancy the chicken marinade is nor how colorful the pasta dish is. This meal is a lesson on less is more. The chicken was seasoned with three ingredients only. And the pasta Alfredo, probably the most colorless of all pasta dishes, was perfect in its simplicity. The chicken part though was a lesson learned the hard way.
It’s a rainy Saturday and plans of going out later have been scrapped at their inception. There’s a storm and getting caught up in flashfloods just isn’t my idea of a relaxing weekend. Since yesterday afternoon, the only welcome thoughts I’ve been entertaining were to curl up in bed and watch a couple of favorite films and to eat an uncomplicated meal. Straight from school (I teach on Fridays), I hurriedly marinated a pack of chicken thighs that I had been thawing since lunch time. Putting the DVD player on “pause” in the middle of Ocean’s Thirteen, I left the comfort of my bed to place half of the chicken thighs in the oven. Because the chicken thighs had been marinating in the fridge for only about 45 minutes, as I expected, they were rather bland when they came out of the oven. My daughters noticed.
It’s not so much how many ingredients you put in your chicken marinade but, more often, it is how much time you allowed the chicken to absorb the flavors. In the same manner, it’s not so much how fancy or how colorful a pasta dish is but, rather, what you serve it with. I oven-grilled the remaining half of the chicken thighs today after marinating them overnight in the fridge and they were just lovely. Lovelier still was how well they went with the simplest pasta dish that can be whipped up in under 20 minutes — pasta Alfredo.
Would you believe it if I told you that the only ingredients for my chicken marinade were dark soy sauce, lemon juice and finely minced garlic? No kidding. But after swimming in the mixture overnight, the chicken meat had absorbed all the flavors and I couldn’t ask for much more. Simple, easy and totally satisfying.
A tip, though. Just before the chicken thighs went into the oven, neatly arranged on a rack inside a roasting pan, I smothered them with freshly ground pepper and mixed herbs that I mentioned in the pork steaks and oven fried potato chips entry. After twenty minutes in the oven at 175oC, the skins were crisp and the meat nicely done but not dry.
While the chicken was grilling in the oven, I made pasta Alfredo.
- Cook the pasta (see how to cook al dente pasta like a pro).
- In a pan, pour in half a cup of cream and the lemon juice. Stir. Heat until just bubbling. Add the butter. Stir just until melted. Turn off the heat.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Add the Parmesan and toss well. Add the rest of the cream. Toss once more. Add salt and pepper (and lemon zest and mixed herbs, if using) and toss a few more times to blend well.
- Serve the pasta Alfredo at once.
Needless to say, the kids and I had a very, very satisfying meal. :)