Italian Chicken with New Orleans Spaghetti Bordelaise

6:48 AM

My sad confession for the day: I do not know how to make spaghetti. Well, I can MAKE spaghetti, but I have never made a from-scratch tomato sauce on my own that I was proud of. One day I thought about that and realized how truly pathetic that is, so I decided to look around for some good old fashioned spaghetti sauce recipes. Now, I'm sure that you have already peeked at the picture above and are wondering if I am crazy, since its quite obvious that this isn't a tomato-based sauce. Well, when I was looking up spaghetti recipes, I came across one from Emeril Lagasse that had rave reviews so I saved it. When I was making my shopping list for the week, and decided to make this dish, I finally realized that it didn't call for any tomatoes! Silly me, I know. I googled what "bordelaise" meant (I'm such a nerd, geez) and apparently there are two types. French Bordelaise is a sauce made with red wine and bone marrow and a few other things, whereas New Orleans Bordelaise is a more garlic and butter/oil based sauce. Like they said, you learn something new everyday :)

The list of ingredients seemed to go on forever and ever, but I didn't let that hinder me. That is one reason it took me so long to actually give cooking a try - I was always intimidated by recipes that had way too many ingredients. But honestly, this dish is extremely simple to make, and if you have a decently stocked spice cabinet, you probably already have most things on hand. I only needed to buy fresh parsley and lemons. I cut the recipe down to 1/4 since I didn't have 6-10 people to serve, and since I only used three chicken thighs, it didn't take me nearly as long to cook as the recipe called for. While the chicken was roasting in the oven, the lemon became very powerful smelling and I was afraid that it would overpower the dish. I was quite pleased with it, though. It did have a slight lemon taste, but no where near overpowering, despite the aroma. The bordelaise sauce was just enough to coat the pasta, so if you think you will prefer more sauce, you can either double it up, or use the wine/lemon sauce from the chicken (but that sauce will be very lemony). I thought the amount of sauce was just enough.

Overall, the kiddos and I really, really loved this dish, especially topped with a generous garnishing of parmesan cheese (the real stuff, guys...I was 26 years old before I realized I spent a quarter-of-a-century thinking I hated parmesan because I used the nasty green-canned stuff). This is an amazing dish and I think would be a crowd pleaser, especially since it almost seems fancy - especially when you say "And tonight we will be having Spaghetti Bordelaise..."

Italian Chicken with New Orleans Spaghetti Bordelaise
Serves 6-10

Italian Chicken
12 chicken thighs
freshly ground black pepper
4 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups white wine
3 lemons, quartered
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Spaghetti Bordelaise
2 pounds dried spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions
2 tablespoons white wine
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Place the chicken in a large bowl and lightly coat with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Crush half of the garlic cloves with the back of a heavy knife. Leave the remaining cloves whole.

3. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken in 1 layer, over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides. Add the crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to evenly distribute. Cover the pan tightly and roast for 1 hour. Uncover and roast until the chicken is brown and tender, and the garlic is caramelized, about 30 minutes, basting occasionally.

4. Remove from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a platter and sprinkle with the parsley. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, or serve on the side.

Spaghetti Bordelaise:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and green onions and cook, stirring, until fragrant and starting to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and parsley and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Return the drained spaghetti to the pot. Add the sauce, to taste, and toss well to coat. Place in a large serving bowl and coat with the Parmesan.

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