Think chicken parmigiana. The chicken, however, are bone-in thighs and the tomato sauce is infused with white wine. The cheese isn’t parmigiana either but edam. The chicken bones and white wine make the sauce taste a lot richer.
How did this dish happen?
I wanted to make chicken parmigiana with pasta but couldn’t find some decent Parmesan cheese in the supermarket. What I found was Edam cheese (quezo de bola to Filipinos). I’m not really a fan of Edam cheese but, when melted, it tastes good. So why couldn’t it take the place of Parmesan?
Like chicken parmigiana, this chicken and pasta dish starts with browning floured chicken pieces. Just flour. You won’t need bread crumbs.
In the oil where the chicken was browned, garlic and onion are softened. White wine is poured in and the bottom of the pan is scraped to get the browned bits mixed into the liquid. It’s called deglazing. The mixture is boiled until the liquid is reduced.
Diced tomatoes are added.
And the sauce is seasoned. Salt, oregano and pepper. If you haven’t been adding oregano to your tomato sauce, it’s the perfect time to start doing it and turning it into a habit. Oregano does something quite magical to tomato sauce.
The browned chicken pieces go back into the pot and everything simmers happily until the chicken thighs are done and the sauce is reduced.
Cooked pasta is tossed in the sauce, ladled into bowls and topped which chicken and lots of shredded Edam cheese.
The cheese is melted with a torch…
And sliced fresh basil is sprinkled over the chicken and pasta.
- 4 large chicken thighs (use breast if you prefer white meat)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsps. of flour
- 4 tbsps. of olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin)
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- white wine, about a cup
- about 2 cups of diced tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes as I didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes)
- ½ tsp. of dried oregano (twice as much if using fresh)
- more salt and pepper
- about 1 tbsp. of sugar
- 200 g. of pasta, cooked according to package directions
- 100 g. of Edam cheese, grated (you can try some other kind of cheese but, of course, every cheese variety tastes different)
- about 12 sweet basil leaves, finely sliced (optional but recommended)
- Heat about four tablespoons of olive oil.
- Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Fry in the hot oil until lightly browned on all sides. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
- In the remaining oil, add the garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, until they start to soften.
- Pour in about a cup of white wine. Boil the mixture — uncovered — until the white wine is reduced to half.
- Add the diced tomatoes and all the juice.
- Add the oregano, salt, pepper and some sugar. Don’t worry about the balance of flavors at this point because you will adjust all of that later.
- Return the chicken to the pot and stir lightly. Boil over medium heat, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- When the sauce is done, taste and adjust the seasonings. Then, scoop out the chicken and transfer to a plate. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss well.
- Divide the pasta among individual pasta bowls. Top each with a chicken thigh. Smother with grated cheese.
- Melt and lightly scorch the cheese either by 1) putting the dish under a very hot broiler (make sure you’re using heat proof bowls) or 2) using a kitchen torch. Trust me, browning the cheese makes a lot of difference both in texture and in taste.