A NY (+ Universal) Guide

Chicken Cacciatore/Puttanesca with 100% Flourless Spaghetti

In Recipes on July 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

Wait, What? Yes, you heard me right. The puttanesca sauce is amazing and all, if I do say so myself (and I do), but the spaghetti is the real star here. Not only does it lack any type of processed flour or fat, but it also happens to be ONE ingredient. That’s right, one. You may find yourself wondering how this can be possible. Well, you’re in luck because today, I have decided to tell you the answer: spaghetti squash. Maybe you’ve heard of it before, maybe you haven’t, but if you are reading this without having tried it yet, I am absolutely sure you’re saying to yourself, “There is no way that can stand in for real spaghetti, I’m just going to make the sauce on some whole wheat pasta.” NO! Just trust me on this one. Spaghetti squash is pretty much a miracle food. A blank palette matchable to any flavor profile, but still with a flavor of its own that will lend to any dish.

MIRACLE FOOD, YUM.

Credit: foodsubs.com

Now for the sauce. Our cacciatore-puttanesca combo here is a rich sauce, heavy in flavor, but still light on fat and calories. No cheese necessary at the end, except maybe a few shavings of parmesan or manchego (my favorite). This chicken “puttatori” (does that sound bad?) is one of my favorite sauces to make – always a crowd pleaser and extremely quick and easy to throw together. This is truly a one-pan meal. I guess you’d like to actually see the recipe at this point, so here it is. Enjoy.

*As a rule, I do not measure. Ever. Unless I’m baking. So please remember that I arbitrarily assigned numbers to these ingredients, and you should be depending more on taste. Also, DO NOT ADD ANY SALT to the dish beyond the instructions. More than enough salt is going to be in the ingredients going in (esp. capers). There is more to health than just calories, and sodium intake is often something we increase to make food seem more substantial when trying to slim down. Do not fall into that trap.

 

SERVINGS: 4 (3 without any side dishes)

INGREDIENTS

1 spaghetti squash (yes, really)

FOR THE SAUCE

2ish or less tablespoons

olive oil

1 can plum tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

2-3ish tbsp capers (and a little of the liquid in the jar)

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 jar roasted red peppers

1 zucchini

1 full chicken breast (2 halves), rinsed thoroughly and patted dry

3-5 garlic cloves (the more the better, right?)

A few glugs of white wine (can be left out if you don’t drink, replace with a cap full of vinegar)

A half of a lemon (Don’t use “lemon juice” – it is usually not real lemon juice, just lemon oil, water, and chemicals)

Quarter cap full of balsamic vinegar

A few shakes of dried oregano

A few leaves of fresh basil, chopped

A few shakes of red pepper flakes if you like some excitement in your life

INSTRUCTIONS

DECONSTRUCTING YOUR SQUASH (the poor thing)

Poke holes in squash with a fork. Place on a plate and microwave for 12 minutes, 6 on each side. Let the squash cool enough that you can handle it, then cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds (bonus: let them dry and then plant them!), and then have at it with a fork. Use the fork (gently, when closer to the center) to scrape out the strands, which will seem a little mushy in the center but start to resemble spaghetti more closely (I promise) as you reach the edges of the squash.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SAUCE?

Season your WELL-WASHED (you never know the conditions in which your chicken was handled when being packaged) and dried chicken with a sparse sprinkling of kosher salt (less is more here, people) and a few healthy grinds of black pepper. Pour a little olive oil into a heated pan (rule: “cold oil, hot pan”) and leave on medium heat, wait a little under a minute for it to come to temp. If your oil starts to smoke, it is TOO HOT. Add seasoned chicken and let it brown for 3 minutes, until it’s a beautiful golden brown. Flip and do the same on the other side. It does not have to be fully cooked through, as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Take out, let cool, and chop into cubes. Move heat to LOW, chop garlic, add to pan. Let garlic become fragrant for about 30 seconds. Chop up olives, peppers, and zucchini, then add to pan with capers. Add chopped chicken. Sauté until zucchini starts to slightly soften, then crush in your tomatoes and a little of the juice from the can. At this point, add a tbsp or so of both the caper liquid and olive juice, as well as the vinegar and white wine. Stir together, then add the can of tomato paste, which will really thicken the sauce. Stir in, let cook for 10-15 minutes on low/medium (or at least until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink on the inside), then remove from heat and very lightly squeeze a little lemon juice (only a little!!!) into the sauce.

The rest is simple: Bowl. Squash. Sauce. A little manchego on top. And after all that… bon appetit.

 

David is a 20-something master of his own kitchen.  He is a salsero and an avid home-grown chef, interested in exotic ingredients and unexplored preparations.  David lives in New York, has roots in Boston, and has spent time in Montreal and Rio de Janeiro. 
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