paccheri pasta dish hero

Mezzi Paccheri Recipe with Basil Chicken

April 7, 2016

paccheri pasta dish hero

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons Tantillo Premiere Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup yellow onions, peeled and minced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2 1/2 cups Tantillo Imported Tomato Basil Sauce

1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

1 package mezzi paccheri pasta

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1Place chicken on a clean work surface or cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and lightly pound with a meat mallet until even in size and thickness.

2Season with salt and pepper.

3Heat olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat.

4Carefully place chicken into the pan and sear for 3-4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

5Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing or dicing.

6Using the same pan, sauté onions for 3 minutes or until fragrant and slightly translucent.

7Stir in the garlic, Tantillo Imported Tomato Basil Sauce, and hot sauce.

8Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

9While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

10Stir in the mezzi paccheri pasta and boil for 8-10 minutes, then drain and rinse.

11Add cooked pasta and chicken to the skillet and stir, coating the noodles in the sauce. Serve topped with fresh basil and parmesan.

Chef’s Notes

Here are a few pointers to help you perfect this delicious mezzi paccheri recipe!

Perfecting the Chicken

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Nobody likes dry, rubbery chicken. But, if you know how to cook chicken the right way, it can be really easy to make it juicy and tender every time.

   Make sure your chicken is fully defrosted if bought frozen. Never cook chicken that is still frozen or partially frozen. Cooking from frozen or partially frozen will result in either raw middles or rubbery, over-cooked mush.

   Pound your chicken. Chicken breasts have an odd shape—they’re large and thick on one side, tapering to a thin point. The varying levels of thickness and size make for varying cooking times. A best practice is to lightly pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet—leveling the playing field, so to speak—to give the chicken even thickness for even cooking. 

   Seasoning matters. Salt performs some incredible culinary feats. It’s what really tenderizes the meat and locks in its juices and flavors. Make sure to liberally season your chicken before it hits the pan.

   Make sure the pan is HOT. Make sure your pan is hot before adding in your chicken. A cold pan (or a pan that’s still warming up on the stove) will result in uneven cooking and potentially dry out your chicken.

   Use high-quality olive oil. Be sure to use a high-quality cooking oil in your pan, like Tantillo Premiere Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This fantastic oil will impart even more flavor to your dish and help to keep the chicken from sticking.

   Keep track of peak temperature and rest time. It’s always a good idea to keep a digital thermometer handy. This way, you’ll always be able to tell if your chicken is thoroughly cooked. Once the breast reaches exactly 160°F, remove it from the pan. Carry-over cooking will bring the chicken up to its true recommended temperature (165°F) and allow it to reabsorb all those tasty juices.

All About the Onions

Onions really are the culinary backbone of every type of cuisine. They can impart savory flavors, sweet flavors, crunch, and aroma. But what is the best way to cook them? And which onion is right for this mezzi paccheri recipe? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about cooking onions to perfection:

   First, make sure your onions are evenly chopped, diced, or sliced. Uneven cuts will cause uneven cooking.

   Don’t overcrowd the pan. Leave enough space for stirring.

   Make sure you have a nice amount of Tantillo Premiere Extra Virgin Olive Oil in your pan—just enough to coat your onions, but not oversaturate them. Olive oils, in particular, are perfect for sautéing onions.

   Most recipes call for you to cook the onions until translucent. When onions cook, they release some of their pungency (what makes you tear up when chopping). This causes them to soften and lose their opacity. Depending on how big you dice or slice, this usually occurs within 3-5 minutes.

   Yellow onions are the most versatile, which makes them the go-to for most recipes. Sweeter onions, like Vidalia onions, are great for browning or caramelizing. Red onions are often the stars of salads and all of your cold, savory recipes.

What is Mezzi Paccheri Pasta?

Mezzi Paccheri are large, tube-shaped noodles that originated in the Campania regions of Naples. They’re big enough to be stuffed like manicotti, and they’re also great tossed with rich, creamy sauces such as Vodka Sauce or chunky Tomato Basil Sauce. In essence, it’s truly the perfect noodle for scooping and sopping sauce.

How to Achieve the Perfect Al Dente

Pasta

There is a fine line between perfectly cooked pasta and mush. Al dente is the term used to describe pasta cooked to perfection, having just the slightest hint of “bite.”

To achieve the perfect al dente texture, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Pour in your noodles and stir. Boil for approximately 7-8 minutes, taste-testing every so often, until the noodles are soft with just a hint of chew. Drain, rinse and toss with the rest of your ingredients. Voila, perfectly cooked pasta!

More From Tantillo Foods

We hope you enjoy this delicious Basil Chicken with Mezzi Paccheri recipe! Keep in mind that Tantillo Foods offers a full range of delicious Italian food products. Shop online to find a collection of high-quality cooking oils, imported pasta sauces, artisanal pastas, and more to elevate your meals.

Shop Cooking Oils

Shop Imported Pasta Sauce

Shop Artisanal Pasta

 

 

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