Two of my favorite dinners in the world are roast chicken and pasta. In fact, if I had a death sentence looming over my head, I’d ask to be executed twice so I could have two last meals, one a roast chicken, the other a big plate of pasta. Luckily, that’s no longer an issue because of this recipe which comes to us from Julia Moskin and the cookbook she co-wrote with Kim Severson, CookFight.
The recipe’s ingenious in the way that it utilizes the good stuff left over from roasting chicken pieces (in this case, thighs) to create a luscious sauce that clings to the pasta and stretches that comforting, roast chicken flavor to every strand.
It all starts with the chicken in a roasting pan. I used a large All-Clad skillet and the same chicken leg/thigh pieces from Citarella I used to make Deb’s Harvest Chicken with Olives and Grapes. You sprinkle everything with salt and pepper and dot with lots of butter:
The recipe says to roast at 375, but I upped that to 425 because I wanted more of a golden skin. While it was roasting, I poured myself a glass of Soave which the wine merchant (yes, I’m calling him a merchant because his store’s called Wine Merchants) thought would go nice with this meal. Ok, I made that up, I didn’t ask for anyone’s help. I was going to but was feeling cranky, so just chose this bottle because it seemed like it would go well with chicken pasta. It did.
40 minutes later, the chicken was totally cooked through with a golden skin.
As you can see, lots of fat leached out, which is a very good thing…but in this case, too much of a good thing. I poured about half of it out so the pasta wouldn’t be greasy.
Then I began shredding the chicken, keeping the skin attached for extra flavor. There was a rapt audience for this step.
Don’t worry, I threw her a chunk or two.
The shredded chicken goes in with the remaining fat. And then you cook your bucatini or linguine (I picked linguine) in rapidly boiling salted water:
When the pasta’s almost entirely cooked, you turn the heat on the pan with the chicken and lift the pasta out (I didn’t have tongs, so tried to do this with two forks; not so easy) into the chicken mixture, along with a ladleful of pasta cooking water. That pasta cooking water will emulsify with the chicken fat and also dislodge all of the scrumptious brown bits that collected at the bottom of the pan, creating your sauce. You also add here your currants (I used golden raisins), chopped rosemary, and pine nuts (if you can afford them; at $27 a box, I couldn’t).
You may have found my last parenthetical hard to believe. $27 for a box of pine nuts? Observe Exhibit A, from my shopping trip to Citarella:
See where it says $26.99 EACH? That’s a lot of money for a box of nuts, I don’t care how piney they taste.
Luckily, the pasta was wonderful without them. I tossed it all together using my two fork method, adding fresh parsley at the very end.
Served with the Soave it made for a tremendous dinner. And once again, there was a rapt audience for it.
Recipe: Pasta with Roast Chicken, Currants, and Pine Nuts
Summary: From Julia Moskin and the cookbook she co-wrote with Kim Severson, Cookfight.
- 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds bucatini or linguine
- 2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary (I used finely chopped fresh rosemary, which I prefer)
- 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
- 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden in a skillet or 250-degree oven
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (if the oven has a convection feature, use it).
- Arrange the thighs in a large roasting pan, preferably nonstick. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and paprika and dot with the butter. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the thighs are just cooked through and the skin is crisp.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- When the chicken is done, let cool slightly, then use your hands (rubber gloves are helpful) to pull the meat and skin from the bones, making bite-sized pieces. Reserve the meat and skin in the roasting pan; discard the bones.
- Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water (make sure it’s nice and salty) and cook just until tender.
- Reserving 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and add to the roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the roasting pan and set over low heat (I did medium-high heat, but I had a lot of water to evaporate). Add the rosemary, currants (or raisins), and pine nuts and toss, then add more salt and pepper to taste, and more cooking water if the mixture seems dry. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately in shallow bowls.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6