Yum, but not Yum-o: Chicken, Peppers and Onion with Linguine

This one, Chicken, Peppers and Onion with Linguine, didn't fall into the It's a Keeper category probably more because of my personal taste than anything, so take this opinion with a grain of salt. I generally don't love spaghetti, mostly because it tends to be too bland for me and I don't love tomato sauce (in fact, I don't even eat ketchup). But it was a healthy meal when served with a green salad and garlic bread. On our recent Seattle trip, I stopped at Garlic Garden and, when spread on bread with butter too, this spread makes and excellent garlic bread. Give this recipe a try when you are in the mood for spaghetti but want something just a bit different. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

1 pound linguine [I used whole wheat and it worked well]
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 3 turns of the pan
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons) [One lemon was enough for me, but I only used about a pound of chicken]
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Cubanelle pepper (mild, long light green pepper), seeded and thinly sliced [They were out of Cubanelles at my store, so I used an Anaheim pepper, which is a bit hotter]
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine (eyeball it) [I used the Chardonnay that was on sale. Four bucks off!]
1/2 cup chicken broth
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for tossing, and to pass around the table [Spend the extra money to get the Parmigiano-Reggiano, it is very worth it. They sell it in the specialty cheese case at my store.]

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then add the pasta, cook until al dente and drain.
2. Heat a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add the chicken and cook over high heat until lightly browned. Sprinkle the thyme, zest and red pepper flakes over the chicken and stir to combine. Add the garlic, peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring now and then, until the veggies soften. [Next time I will cook the veggies till they just barely are soft, because they ended up losing some color and getting a little too soft after simmering in the sauce for 10 minutes.] Add the wine and scrape up the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. [That part always makes me feel like such a chef.] Stir in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
3. Combine with the chicken, peppers and onion and a little grated cheese. Serve at once and pass around extra cheese at the table.


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