I've been making this recipe for so many years that I no longer recall where I first stumbled upon it (it might have been Apartment Life). It's a fall-back recipe with few ingredients and less instructions. Basically, one pot to cook up the pasta and one skillet where all the rest of the ingredients are tossed.
I prefer to use thin spaghetti (spaghettini), but regular ol' spaghetti or even linguine will substitute nicely. Likewise, if you don't have chicken broth on hand, use veggie broth. And if you do, please wash before continuing.
Don't skip the step about pounding the breasts. It only adds a couple of minutes to the recipe, but really makes a difference. Pounding tenderizes the meat and allows it to cook evenly. Plus it's fun and lets out your aggressions. Just don't get too aggressive, or the chicken will be pulverized.
This dish can also be made with bone-in and skin-on chicken parts of your choice: skip the pounding step, remove excess skin (but not all of it -- grease is the word) and reduce the amount of Italian dressing to 1/4 cup.
Chicken and Pasta with Italian Dressing
1 lb. thin spaghetti
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing (NOT creamy style)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
Boil water in a large pot, then add spaghetti and cooking according to package directions. Drain, set aside and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place breasts in a plastic bag (unsealed) or between two sheets of wax paper. Pound with a mallet (or back of small saucepan). Set aside for a minute.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the Italian dressing and broth.
When dressing mixture starts to simmer (in a minute or less so don't wander off), add breasts in a single layer.
When the edges turn white and the bottom of the breasts start to brown, flip the breasts over. Some portions might still be pink, but that's okay. Brown the other side, then flip the breasts again, cover and reduce heat to simmer.
By the time the spaghetti finishes cooking, start checking to see if the breasts are completely cooked (when cut, the juices run clear and the chicken is no longer pink). Drizzle on lemon juice.
When the chicken is ready, plate the spaghetti. Place a breast on top of the spaghetti. Ladle on some of the
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