We all know how weeknights can go: you’ve had a long day at work, you’d love a comforting home-cooked meal, but then you realize that you’re the one who’d have to cook it, and you call a pizza place instead. Well, here’s your new replacement. It’s almost as easy as making a pasta with sauce from a jar, but tastes a lot better, and still more or less counts as homemade. It’s based on this recipe, from Real Simple Magazine.
Buy a roast chicken.
Boil a box of pasta, and reserve a cup or so of the leftover pasta water.
Pick your favorite short pasta. The original recipe calls for orecchiette, which my local grocery store seems to chronically lack, so I tend to go for shells or, as I did today, campanelle.
While the pasta is boiling, shred the chicken.
If you’re a fancy individual, you can use a fork (or two forks, if you are dexterous in addition to fancy), but if you’re like me, just dig right in with those (clean) fingers and rip ‘em up. This is an easy task to delegate, and even little hands could probably do it, but be wary of bones getting into the mix. You can be as thorough in your bone scraping as you want, as long as you get at least the breasts pretty clear, you should have sufficient chicken for the dish.
Getting saucy. This is hopefully stating the obvious, but when it comes to reserving the pasta water, just put a bowl or measuring cup under the colander, just remember not to hold it, because trips to the ER aren’t part of easy meals. Anyway, set your pasta in the colander aside for a minute. The original recipe called for 1.25 cups of reserved pasta water, but I go for 1 cup: throw it back into the pot, but not on the heat. Add a half a cup to a cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the water, and a tablespoon or two of your favorite herbs, as well as salt & pepper to taste. The original recipe calls for rosemary, but I went for a tblsp of basil and another of oregano. You can add more Parmesan to the mix if you want your sauce thicker, or more reserved water if you want it thinner. It will look a little grainy from the cheese:
But that will clear up when you add the pasta & the chicken. Avoid the temptation to turn on the heat, that will cause the cheese to form huge clumps as it melts, and while they’re tasty, they aren’t too attractive. Throw the pasta in first, give it a good stir, and then the chicken. Heating here will just add chicken & pasta to gloms of cheese, so be careful:
I totally did this to show you how wrong it looks. Not because I can’t listen to my own advice. Nope. Totally not that.
Anyway, that’s it. Zero to homemade pasta in under 15 minutes. Throw together a salad and you’re a veritable domestic goddess!
Here’s the original recipe:
Parmesan Pasta With Chicken and Rosemary
Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 15m
- 12 ounces (3 cups) orecchiette pasta
- 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- kosher salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Shred the chicken, using a fork or your fingers, while the pasta cooks. Discard the skin and bones.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1 1/4 cups of the water. Return the pasta to the pot.
- Add the reserved pasta water, chicken, rosemary, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Stir over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Divide among individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.