This recipe might sound like it takes a lot of extra work, but it’s actually much easier to make than it sounds. And the brining makes a fabulous difference, so be sure to plan ahead.
Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
Recipe reprinted and (modified a touch) from down home: downtown which features recipes from Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar and Syrah Bistro, with permission. This recipe was created by Josh Silvers of Syrah Bistro.
Brined Chicken Breasts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups water
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 spaghetti squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
- 3 slices apple wood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg yolk, beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the brined chicken breasts:
- In a saucepan, combine the garlic, thyme, peppercorn, salt, sugar and water.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and let cool, then add several ice cubes until thoroughly chilled.
- Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the brine over it.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.
For the spaghetti squash:
- EITHER preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lightly oil a rimmed baking heet and place the squash halvs on it, cut side down. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
- OR follow these directions to prepare the spaghetti squash in the crockpot.
- OR follow these directions to prepare spaghetti squash in the microwave
- Then, let squash stand and cool enough to handle. With a spoon or fork, scoop out the squash into long strands.
- Set aside, or cover and refrigerate for up to one day before using.
When you are ready to prepare the chicken:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain the chicken breasts, pat dry, and let come to room temperature.
- In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the breasts, and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Turn the chicken over, transfer the pan to the oven and roast until opaque throughout, about 16- 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the spaghetti squash carbonara:
- In a large skillet, saute the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
- Add the cream and garlic to the pan with the bacon fat and cook stirring, until cream is reduced by half, about six minutes.
- Add the spaghetti squash and stir until coated and heated through.
- Add the spinach to the pan and stir until wilted, 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the Parmesan, egg yolk, reserved bacon, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the parsley.
Rodney Strong Vineyards provided me with a copy of down home: downtown as well as a bottle of Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay in hopes that I would try this recipe with their wine. The review and photos are my own.