After recently seeing an episode of David Rocco's Amalfi Getaway in which he prepared 'Ndunderi (ricotta gnocchi) with a lemon sauce, I was inspired to create my own lemon sauce for use with pasta. I wanted to make it lemony, spicy and fragrant, the way I remember the flavors of the Amalfi Coast. I remember when we first stopped our car along the Coast Road and looked out at the rugged cliffs meeting that shimmering seascape... I was dumbstruck. I almost cried from the fact that I was actually standing there in this glorious environment. I wanted to create flavors that took me back to that moment... a mix of amazing beauty and the danger of the cliffs and the curvy road ahead. A blend of sweet tartness with some decent heat. I set to work...
First I threw together some ingredients:
3/4 pound of cut up chicken breasts, salted and peppered with Lemon Pepper
zest of 3 large lemons (the most fragrant you can find)
The juice of two of the lemons
3 tablespoons of lemon flavored olive oil (for sautéing)
1/2 teaspoon pepperoncino (red pepper flakes)
2 whole cloves of garlic (paper removed)
1 cup of a fruity white wine (I used a French Sancerre we happened to have)
1 cup of Low Fat Half & Half (or heavy cream)
1 pound of a textured pasta to hold the sauce well (we used a large, imported Radiatore)
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
I placed about 3 tablespoons of the lemon olive oil in a 12" non-stick saute pan, sprinkled in the pepperoncino and turned the heat to medium. I cut up some white chicken breasts into short strips and salted them, then sprinkled with lemon-pepper mix. Adding the chicken to the hot pan, I sautéed them until I got some decent color on the first side (about 3 minutes), then, after I turned the pieces of chicken over, I added the two garlic cloves into the oil and then sprinkled the chicken with the lemon zest and continued to cook, tossing as needed for another minute or so. You can now squeeze in the juice from two of the lemons use your hands as a filter to keep the seeds from falling into the sauce.
Hopefully, your pasta should be ready by the end of cooking your chicken. If it's not, take your chicken and sauce off the flame, cover and set aside. Once the pasta is ready, drain in a colander, then combine well in a large pasta serving bowl. Toss in the Parmagiano Reggiano and basil and mix well.
Allora, buon appetito!
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