I am a firm believer that many things become infinitely better when smothered in something fabulous.
I mean, tortilla chips without a smothering of melted cheese? Pass. Vanilla ice cream without a smothering of velvety, homemade fudge sauce? Yawn! A freshly washed face without a smothering of luxurious night cream? I can feel myself breaking out already.
A bed of pasta and sauteed chicken without a smothering of marinated roasted tomatoes, tangy artichoke hearts, briny capers, zippy lemon, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, a touch of cream, and chicken broth? I wouldn’t hear of it!
Long story short, I’ve been obsessing over smothered chicken dishes lately. You know, chicken (or any other protein, for that matter) quickly sauteed then smothered with a plethora of flavorful ingredients, including a yummy sauce to sop up with pasta or crusty bread? You can make them as decadent (or not!) as you want them to be, plus they’re a cinch to make.
Last week I mixed up a devilish concoction of bacon, mushrooms, spinach, and cream to smother chicken breasts for a freelance recipe I was writing (which I will be sharing with you as soon as I get the green light!) It was so delish that I made it twice in one week, then immediately got to work on creating a similar version that I could post here on IGE right away. Mediterranean Smothered Chicken, with it’s bright and fresh coastal flavors, is what I came up with. I promise you will lick your plates clean!
Start by brushing 4 chicken breasts on both sides with extra virgin olive oil then seasoning with garlic salt & pepper (note: I’m showing 1/4 of the recipe in these pics!) Saute for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through, then remove to a plate and take the skillet off the heat to cool for a few minutes.
After the chicken’s done cooking, drop 8oz angel hair pasta into salted, boiling water then cook until al dente. It should be done right around the same time the smotherin’ sauce.
Which is where we head to next! This is a pretty quick-cooking dish, so make sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go on a plate or cutting board nearby.
Turn the heat down to medium then place the skillet back on the burner. Heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil then add 2 large chopped shallots and season with salt and pepper. Saute the shallots until they’re translucent, about 3 minutes, then add 3 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 more seconds.
Next add all the goodies! That’s 1 can quartered artichoke hearts (drained), 1 cup marinated roasted tomatoes (more on those in a sec!) 2 Tablespoons capers, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
Here are the marinated roasted tomatoes I mentioned, which I picked up at Whole Foods’ olive bar. I was actually looking for sun dried tomatoes when I happened upon these babies, and they looked (and smelled) too good to resist.
The tomatoes are lightly roasted then marinated in olive oil, garlic and spices, and are so delicious that I could eat probably eat 4 billion of them. More or less. I can’t wait to pick up more to pair with cucumbers for a light salad all summer! If you can’t find these in your area, sub in 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes.
K! Saute the tomatoes and artichokes for a couple minutes, just enough time to warm through, then add 1/4 cup half & half (or heavy cream) and 1/2 cup chicken broth.
Then add 1/4 cup each chopped basil and grated parmesan cheese. (Psst: here’s how I slice basil >)
Finish ‘er up with the juice of 1/2 lemon, then reduce the sauce for a minute or 2. Not too long, or else you won’t have enough to smother the chicken with!
Divide the pasta among four plates, top with a cooked chicken breast, then SMOTHER.
SMOTHER, SMOTHER, SMOTHER.
Mediterranean Smothered Chicken
4 small chicken breasts
extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, pepper
8oz angel hair pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
1 cup marinated roasted tomatoes, chopped
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 Tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half & half (or heavy cream)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped basil
- Pound chicken to even thickness then brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and season with garlic salt and pepper. Saute in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then set aside.
- Add pasta to a large pot of salted, boiling water then cook until al dente. Drain then set aside.
- Let skillet cool off the heat for a few minutes, then return to burner and reduce heat to medium. Add extra virgin olive oil and shallots then season with salt and pepper and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, and lemon zest then saute until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, half & half, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and basil then reduce sauce slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Divide pasta among plates then top with a chicken breast. Smother with tomato and artichoke mixture.
I cannot tell you how mouthwatering this dish was! The pasta soaked up that yummy, decadent-tasting sauce (which is actually fairly light – only 1 Tablespoon half & half per person) and each bite was just HEAVEN. Make sure you make this sometime soon!