Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair Pasta

It’s spring and that means artichoke season where I come from back on the Central Coast of California.  Sigh….artichokes.  Even though I haven't lived in California for several years now, I'm still crazy about 'em and am very thankful to Whole Foods for bringing fresh ones to the Midwest for me. 

If you’ve spent any time at all in my recipe index, you would know with certainty that I am powerless to resist the charms of the artichoke.  I’ll eat them in just about any form... bread pudding, yes; salsa, yes; artichoke bread, of course; pesto sauce, yes; and any other way I can think to deliver them to my plate… yes, yes, and yes!

So when I came across this recipe from Everyday Food, it took me about a nano second to grab my bag of frozen artichoke hearts out of the freezer and run to the stove.  Now, it would have been perfectly lovely if I had found the patience to get over to Whole Foods and buy 3 or 4 beautiful green globes of artichoke, bring them home and clean them down to the hearts, simmer them until beautifully tender and slice them up to sauté in this lovely sauce.  Perfectly lovely, but alas, this is where I confess to impatience and laziness.  Not very laudable traits for a food blogger, but perhaps you will appreciate that because of my imperfections in this regard, I was able to throw this incredibly delicious dish together in about 30 minutes.  You could probably do it in less time, but I had to spend a little time tinkering with the recipe.

 

So here’s the thing.  While I loved the simplicity of this recipe, the sauce really didn’t have a whole lot of flavor.  And there wasn’t quite enough of it.  So the first time I made it, I added in a bit of lemon juice with the butter to finish the sauce and that was definitely a good idea.  Fixed it right up.  I also sprinkled the chicken breasts with some of my Tuscan Herb Salt.  That added tons of flavor not only to the chicken, but to the sauce as well.  And then I substituted fresh oregano for the parsley.  That seems like a lot of tinkering.

But then the second time I made it, more tinkering...I doubled the sauce ingredients and eliminated both the butter and the lemon juice, and stirred in a couple tablespoons of goat cheese instead.  Whoa.  Was that ever amazing… just the right touch of flavor and creaminess.  Both sauce versions are pretty scrumptious, actually, so choose which most appeals to you – lemon/butter or goat cheese.  Both versions complement the artichokes really well.

 

So here I am encouraging you to get your artichoke thing on… canned, fresh or frozen, it’s all good.  And so is this stuff!  Here’s the recipe…

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair Pasta

Click here for a printable recipe

Adapted from Everyday Food

Serves 4

I have made several changes from the original recipe (which you can find here).   I’ve noted those changes below.  I used my Tuscan Herb Salt to season the chicken, which added tons of flavor to this dish.  If you don’t have any, just sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper along with a little dried thyme, oregano, and/or rosemary.

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper (I used Tuscan Herb Salt)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained, and quartered (or 14 oz of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered)
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
3 tablespoons butter and1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice OR 3 tablespoons of goat cheese
10-12 ounces angel-hair pasta
1/2 cup parsley leaves (I used ¼ cup of fresh oregano) chopped

Set a large pot of salted water to boil.

Pound the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap until fairly flat and uniform in thickness.  Season both sides with the Tuscan Herb Salt (see above).

Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chicken pieces, shaking off excess.  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook chicken until light golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes per side; transfer to a dish.

Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently stir to combine, and bring just to a simmer.  Remove skillet from heat. Swirl in butter and lemon juice or the goat cheese, and cover to keep warm.

Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 2 or 3 minutes; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley or fresh oregano.

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