Chicken Scampi

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READY IN: 45mins
Recipe by Honeyspidey

This is my family's recipe for chicken scampi. I love it, I've never tasted one quite like it. It's real "mantrée," that is, it's good all by itself and all he'll need is a shovel and big bowl. It will make him very happy! I think the recipe originated in an issue of "ABZ's of Cooking" ages ago, and the following recipe was inspired by that original recipe. The best thing about the recipe is that you can probably make it from what you already have on hand, and it's very substantial. I often substitute the linguine with pasta I have on hand and make my own bread crumbs when I'm out (you can make these easily with a few pieces of bread, a 350 degree oven, some italian seasoning, a bag and a rolling pin). I suggest you get your stuff ready to go well ahead of time as it moves pretty quickly once you get started!

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Get your ingredients ready to go! Put the butter somewhere to soften, like a sunny window.
  2. Prep your cheese by shredding it or grating it. If you use a container cheese like Kraft, get that out.
  3. Place 1/2 a cup of white wine in a 1 cup (like the measuring cup from Pyrex.).
  4. Get a ramekin/small bowl and mince 4-5 cloves of garlic into it. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice for every clove added. Set this off to the side with the white wine.
  5. Now prep your breading station. Get two bowls out. Beat 2-3 eggs vigorously in one bowl. In the other, combine your bread crumbs with the salt and pepper.
  6. Fill your pasta pot full of water, put it on a back burner, and turn the heat on and don't salt the water until you're ready to throw the pasta in the pot.
  7. Get your largest frying pan and add the oil. Don't turn on the heat yet.
  8. Now that everything is ready, you can prep the chicken while minimizing the risk of cross contamination. I am fed up with cutting chicken with a knife for this recipe. I just use some good kitchen-quality scissors. Cut away any discolored, fatty or bloody pieces. Then cut the chicken in 1/2 inch strips. Uniformity is important, so try to make the pieces the same size for even cooking.
  9. Breading: Put a handful of the raw chicken strips/pieces into the egg. Take a couple of pieces out and roll them in your bread crumb mixture. Set them on some wax paper or better still, one of those thin and flexible cutting sheets. Do this until all the chicken is evenly breaded and ready for frying.
  10. Turn on the oil to 7 (on a scale from 1-9.) I find that Hi-Medium is the perfect temperature for this.
  11. Salt the almost boiling pasta water with about 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt. Right after, put your colander/strainer in the sink so it's there when you need it.
  12. The hardest parts are done! But before you put one piece of chicken in that oil, make sure you have a place to put it once it is done. I learned from Alton Brown to avoid setting fried chicken on a paper towel to blot away the excess oil. Instead, line the counter with a few paper towels and place a cooling rack on top of the towels to allow the fat to drip off. Your chicken will be much less greasy as a result.
  13. Check the oil to see if it sizzles by throwing a drop of water on it. When it's sizzling, add a single layer of the breaded chicken pieces. They should sizzle on contact. The original recipe says to cook the meat for 30 seconds on both sides, but my experience has been roughly 3 minutes per side. Just use your best judgment and avoid undercooking any of the chicken. All it takes is one piece of undercooked chicken to ruin the whole night. Use some tongs to help yourself turn the chicken.
  14. Place the cooked pieces on the cooling rack.
  15. Put your pasta in the water once it's boiling and set your timer.
  16. Once all of the chicken is one the cooling rack, reduce the heat from 7 to 3 or 4. Take a bunch of paper towels and sweep/wipe the pan clean quickly with some paper towels over the garbage can. The pan is still super hot, so be careful. Put the pan right back on the burner.
  17. Add a ladle or two of the starchy pasta water to the cup you set aside with white wine in it.
  18. The pan might be smoking a bit, but it will stop when you add the wine and water and the liquid will turn a brown color. This is deglazing the pan and it adds a lot of flavor. If you are the type that thinks everything is flavorless and dull, throw half a bouillon cube into the pan and allow it to dissolve.
  19. Add the stick of butter to the frying pan. After it's all dissolved and clear, add the lemon and garlic to the wine and butter sauce.
  20. Once the pasta is the tenderness you prefer, turn off the burner, strain the pasta quickly in the colander and return it to the pot with 2 tablespoons of butter. You can turn up the heat a bit to aid melting. I like to add a bunch of Parmesan here, like a cup of it. This is a matter of your taste. If you typically don't like a lot of cheese on your pasta, wait until dinner is on the table and use it as needed.
  21. Add the chicken back to the frying pan with the sauce. Mix well, and be careful not to over cook the chicken.
  22. Add the chicken to the pot with the butter and noodles and mix gently. Dinner is done.

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