Shoemaker’s Chicken for One

Shoemaker’s Chicken (or Chicken Scarpariello) is a classic Italian dish that isn’t really Italian at all. The true story goes something like this: Italians come to America and start adapting and creating new recipes, they become popular, a new tradition is born.

“Authentic” or not, it’s still delicious, flavored with a sweet/sour pan sauce that cooks right with the chicken.  One pan, minimal cleanup. Always a good thing.

There, are (naturally) plenty of variations on this dish, from just simply cooking it with olive oil, wine, and lemon to adding sausage and Peppadew peppers.  Well, I didn’t have any sausage. I also didn’t have the right peppers, and since a) I didn’t want to get some for one meal or b) burden you with getting a whole jar of something for one meal, I used ordinary bell peppers instead. Then I added a bit of vinegar and a pinch of sugar to approximate the Peppadew flavor.

Also, I used two different recipes as a starting point. The first one, from Bon Appetit,  called for browning the chicken in a skillet and then transferring to the oven to finish, The second one, from Pierre Franey’s 60 Minute Gourmet cookbook, cooked it all entirely in the skillet. My skillets are old, and I’m not entirely sure how oven-safe they are.  So, all-on-the stove top it was!

I did, however, make the potatoes suggested in Bon Appetit’s recipe.  That was just simply heating the oven to 450, then cutting a large Yukon potato into chunks, tossing it with 1 T of olive oil, salt and pepper and baking for about 20-25 minutes.

Order of operations: If you’re making the potatoes, preheat the oven first, then start the chicken, cut up the potatoes, put them in to cook, and finish the chicken.






 

More Chicken Recipes

stovetop coq au vinStovetop Coq au Vin Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

A streamlined version of a French classic (with an “easy” button).  Ready in under an hour, with only one pan to clean.

 

chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

The perfect solution when you want food fast.  It makes its own sauce, right in the pan.

 

roast chicken with plumsRoast Chicken with Plums

Perfect for summer, bathed in a sweet, tangy sauce with just a hint of savory warm spiciness. And super simple to make.

 

chicken with mushrooms and tarragonChicken with Tarragon and Mushrooms

Fancy French food (without going out, or paying a big bill). Increase the recipe, make it for company, and they’ll think you’re a food genius.  Or, keep it all to yourself.

 




Garlic Bruschetta Pizza

After all the baking and partying (such as it was) of the new year, time for something a bit different. My fellow foodies theme this month is “Veganuary,” meaning vegetarian dishes with no eggs or dairy products.  I’ve been wanting to make this garlic bruschetta pizza for a while anyway, and it happens to fit the theme too.

It’s downsized for one person, so there’s either enough for one large pizza or two medium ones (one dinner or two lunches, depending on how hungry you are).

All you need are a few simple ingredients that come together for a pretty impressive result. I’ve included the recipe for the dough, but if you don’t want to make the dough yourself (I find the kneading therapeutic right now), you can always just buy it ready-made in your supermarket or even ask at a local pizza place.

And, if you don’t want to be vegan, it’s just fine to add some shredded mozzarella or parmesan on top.




garlic bruschetta pizza cut up

Garlic Bruschetta Pizza Substitutions and Variations

  • add some fresh chopped tomatoes
  • ditch the “vegan” and try it with grated parmesan or shredded mozzarella
  • use fresh basil (add it right at the end of the cooking period)
  • top with sautéed onions and/or mushrooms

More Pizza Recipes

goat cheese caramelized onion pizzaGoat Cheese Onion Pizza

Mellowed sweet onions, slow-cooked onions, earthy goat cheese, leafy spinach, and crispy bell pepper are a fresh change from the usual cheese and tomato.

 

white pizza without ricottaWhite Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

If you like white pizza, but would rather skip the ricotta (I’m not a big fan either), try this recipe instead. No ricotta in sight.

 

rosemary potato roasted garlic pizzaRosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

Think of this as potato chip pizza.  I, personally, am always in favor of extra starch.  You get hot pizza, a light dusting of melty cheese, and a crispy crunch.

 

 




Rosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza

I had never heard of rosemary potato pizza (or pizza con potate – which sounds sooo much better than the English translation) until recently. But when a friend described it, I had to have it. Sadly, he lives 3,000 miles away. And, the place that serves it only has it seasonally. Either that, or I had to fly to Italy. So, I decided to make my own pizza. I ended up mind melding two recipes and came up with rosemary potato roasted garlic pizza with thin slices of potatoes, roasted garlic, and mozzarella cheese.

The potato slices are soaked in salted water to soften and then layered on top of the pizza to get crispy, while the cheese turns brown and bubbly. Roasting the garlic transforms it into something sweet, mellow, and spreadable (incidentally this is also great on crusty bread). All topped with sprigs of fresh rosemary, a drizzle of olive oil, and grated Romano cheese.

And yeah, you can definitely tell everyone you’re making potato chip pizza for dinner!

I’ve included the recipe and instructions to make your own dough, but feel free to take the easy route and buy pre-made dough from your supermarket or local pizza joint. That will get you pizza in about an hour.

Making the dough yourself does require a bit of time and effort, so it’s definitely a weekend, rather than weeknight meal. And, since this is a long weekend in the US, it’s the perfect time to try it.

So, order of operations: first start the dough (if you’re making your own). Then, while that’s rising, slice and soak the potatoes. While they soak, roast the garlic. Then wait for a while, while the dough rises, and put it all together. Once all the components are ready, it comes together pretty quickly.

The pizza is enough for one dinner, or you can split the dough recipe in half and use it for two lunches. The dough will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Make sure to wrap it tightly so it doesn’t dry out. Or, you can freeze it.




Rosemary Potato Roasted Garlic Pizza Substitutions and Variations

  • add some cooked chicken
  • top with sliced red onion
  • add some hot red pepper flakes
  • switch the cheeses and use fontina
  • or, add some crumbled bacon

More Pizza Recipes

goat cheese caramelized onion pizzaGoat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

Slow-cooked onions, tangy goat cheese, earthy spinach, and crispy bell pepper cooked together with a pre-made crust. Easy and delicious!

 

white pizza without ricottaWhite Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

I love white pizza, and like ricotta, but somehow… not together. Instead, this pizza has lots of creamy mozzarella, sweet/tart sun-dried tomatoes, and summery basil.

 

 




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Since it’s spring and everything is turning green (and yellow and pink), it’s time to take advantage and turn from heavy food to something lighter and fresher. Spaghetti with green olives and lemon panko hits all those buttons. It’s light, it’s green, and it’s a bit of a flavor bomb that will wake up your taste buds.

It’s got zesty garlic, and earthy fresh spinach, paired with tangy capers, briny olives and a burst of citrus. Crispy, golden-brown panko crumbs mixed with dill and lemon zest add a bit of crunch.

In fact, I shared it with some friends and one of them said, “Oh I want that! I want it now! But I’m at work! Sob.”

I hate that the internet doesn’t include a “push here for spaghetti option”!

I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, but I changed it a bit.  First, it had anchovies. Nope! Nope!  Second, I swapped the original parsley for some spinach instead. One, I had lots of spinach. And two, I don’t like parsley all that much, so there’s no point in buying a whole bunch of it. The spinach I will use for other meals.

One more small thing. The recipe said to cut some of the olives in half and then chop up the rest. It may have said to chop up the capers too (the instructions were a bit unclear). I started to chop the olives and then decided it was silly, so I stopped.

It also occurred to me after I made it that I could prepare the pasta first, then keep it warm while I cooked the panko and mixed everything else together.  Just drain and wipe the saucepan, add the oil and panko, and proceed with the rest of the recipe. That way it’s only one pot!

I used ordinary green olives (because they were handy). I think I will try it next time with castelvetrano olives instead, since they are my favorite olive (and taste great with pasta).

Oh dear, I’m revising and internet commenting my own recipe! Ha!




Spaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko Substitutions and Variations

  • like anchovies and parsley? Go for it!
  • use castelvetrano olives instead, they are firmer and more buttery
  • top the whole thing with some red pepper flakes
  • add more garlic
  • use the sauce over cooked fish (such as cod or tilapia)

More Pasta Recipes

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

A bit of basil, a handful of spinach, and some cream (or diluted plain Greek yogurt), and cooked pasta. You’ve got dinner (only two pots).  A healthy, green way to say hello to spring.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Fancy fresh pasta, or standard dried, this meal works either way. And it makes me smile every time.

 

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Nobody knows exactly how this dish got its name. But, the punchy capers, sweet tomatoes, and briny olives pack a lot of flavor into a few ingredients. It’s fast, and delicious too.

 

pasta alla norma with eggplantPasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Take advantage of fresh veggies with this slightly spicy pasta dish. It’s got sweet tomatoes, creamy fork-tender eggplant, and a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick.

White Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Purists call this dish white ragu pappardelle pasta; others call it white bolognese (which makes the purists mad).  The point isn’t the name (it tastes just as good no matter what you call it). And, much as I love tomato sauces, the white sauce is a tasty change from the usual red one.

It starts with onions and carrots, then adds ground beef and sausage, which is simmered gently with porcini mushrooms, white wine, and a touch of cream.  Soooo good.

I first made this right after Pesach, when the urge to eat starch (and lots of it) is strong, so I splurged for fresh pappardelle pasta.  Being on an involuntary low-carb diet is no fun!  Since I was using fresh pasta, it takes less time to cook than the dried version.  If you use dried pasta, allow 10 minutes or so to boil the water and another 8 minutes or so to cook the pasta.  Fresh pasta only needs a couple of minutes. If you can’t get pappardelle, rigatoni will work fine. You want a substantial pasta with bite (angel hair won’t do here).

The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms, which I didn’t have. So, I substituted fresh ones.  If you use the dried version, add the soaking liquid to the sauce instead of the water. The pasta water at the end thickens the sauce (with the starch from the cooked pasta).

I made a few other changes too. As a commenter rightly pointed out, the onions and carrots take different amounts of time to cook, so they shouldn’t be added all at once.  First the onions, then the carrots. Also, I never have beef bouillon cubes (the ingredients make me wince) so I used beef stock instead.




White Ragu Papardelle Pasta Substitutions and Variations

  • Substitute bacon or pancetta for the sausage
  • Swap ground veal and pork for the beef and sausage
  • If you like venison or boar, those would work too
  • Add a few cloves of garlic and top with basil when you serve it
  • Don’t want sausage or beef? Use ground turkey instead (add a bit more fat to the pan)

More Pasta Recipes

pasta with tomato artichoke saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

A rich, thick tomato sauce brightened with spicy crushed red pepper and savory oregano. The artichokes are straight from a jar (so it’s pantry-friendly).

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Sometimes, the simplest things are best. This only requires a few basic ingredients you likely have in your cupboard or fridge. Go up the fancy scale with fresh pasta, or use what’s in your pantry. It’s all good.

spaghetti spinach lemon cream sauceSpaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Earthy spinach, a splash of citrus, and some cream and you have a delicious, light main dish. And the hardest part is boiling the water for the pasta.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta

A bit of a twist on the usual pesto. No pine nuts, or walnuts. This one is made with pistachios instead. And while I got it from a book, it wasn’t a cookbook. It was a mystery.

 

 




Pasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Shortcut your dinner cooking routine with staples you already have in your pantry. This tomato artichoke pasta sauce recipe (also called Pasta Sauce Raphael) is ready in less than half an hour.  The original called for fresh tomatoes and hours of simmering. My version is faster and tastes just as good!

It’s flavored with rich, sweet tomatoes, a bit of earthy oregano and summery basil, plus a gentle kick from red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper.

The only thing you need to get is the jar of marinated artichoke hearts. You likely already have the rest of the ingredients in  your larder (yay!).  Since the basil and oregano are dried, you don’t have to go and get fresh herbs.

The best way to approach this is to begin by making the pasta. Set the pasta pot on the stove with water and start to bring it to a boil. While that’s heating up, start working on the sauce.

Save the rest of the artichokes to make the recipe again, or add them to an antipasto platter with salami, fruit, olives, and cheese on a night you don’t feel like cooking.

The remaining tomatoes can go for Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant or Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili




Tomato Artichoke Pasta Sauce Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a spoonful of capers to the sauce
  • Intensify the tomato flavor with sun-dried tomatoes
  • Try Manchego or Parmesan cheese instead of Romano
  • If you don’t have the marinated artichokes, use the canned kind with some olive oil and white wine
  • If you don’t like artichokes (or have them handy) replace them with mushrooms and a tablespoon of Italian dressing

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

This pasta dish has a racy name, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.  Briny capers, sweet tomatoes, and salty olives burst with flavor. And it’s ready in minutes.

 

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

Wake up your taste buds and welcome spring with this zesty, earthy pasta dish. It takes only thirty minutes to make.

 

linguine with garlic and olive oilLinguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Simple, but still satisfying, and made with just a few basic ingredients you probably already have. It’s very forgiving too; it works with anything from fresh pasta and freshly grated cheese to dried pasta and the stuff in the can.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A silky smooth sauce, with just a touch of cream, layered over pasta. Fancy enough for company, or just eat it yourself (you deserve it).

 




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 




Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs

 

More Pasta Recipes

pasta olives tomatoes capersPasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Want food fast? Just cook some pasta and put together a quick sauce from sweet tomatoes, zesty garlic, and salty olives.

 

white ragu papardelleWhite Ragu Pappardelle Pasta for One

Earthy porcini mushrooms, sausage, beef, white wine, and a bit of cream, all simmered gently and served with hearty fresh pasta.  Sooo good, you may never want the usual red sauce again.

spaghetti with green olives and lemon pankoSpaghetti with Green Olives and Lemon Panko

A burst of bright flavor from nutty olives, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and golden friend panko.  A wonderful, and easy summer treat.

 

pasta with tomato artichoke saucePasta with Tomato Artichoke Sauce Recipe

Rich, thick, and pantry friendly too with canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and a jar of artichokes.  Start the sauce simmering, make the pasta and you’re ready to eat in half an hour.

 




Sauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

In my head, this was Roman spinach.  Then I looked and realized that was a completely different recipe (with pine nuts and raisins). I was wrong about the Roman part, but at least sauteed garlic parmesan spinach is really Italian.

The recipe that inspired this called for blanching and baking the spinach and then broiling everything.  That was too much bother!  I’ve adapted it to make it simpler and easier.

This way, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to prepare.  It will go nicely, I think, with a simple pan fried fish, or grilled fish. Or, serve it with a steak.

Unlike the Roman spinach (which would have required a trip to get pine nuts), this sauteed spinach is made from everyday ingredients you probably already have at home.  No special shopping trip needed!

If you want, you can add additional ingredients to the basic recipe (see the substitutions and variations section below for more ideas).




 

Substitutions and Variations for Sautéed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

  •  add a sliced mushroom or two (put that in before the spinach)
  • try some sautéed onions
  • add this recipe to some scrambled eggs and make it a main course for breakfast, lunch, or brunch
  • roast the garlic first
  • add some chopped fresh cherry tomatoes just before serving

More Spinach Recipes

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Shakshouka for One

 




Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

I should probably refer to this pasta e fagioli soup as “blizzard soup.” The forecast called for up to 20 inches of snow (though we only got seven).  I was determined to keep the stove going and get a batch of hot soup. Besides, there is more snow coming tomorrow!

Therefore, I deliberately made this the “hard” way.  First, I soaked the beans overnight.  Then I cooked the beans and sort of followed a recipe from The New York Times.  I cut it in  half and added pancetta (don’t know why they left that out).

I even made my own vegetable stock.  If you spot potatoes in the photo, it’s because they were in the homemade vegetable stock recipe .   Potatoes aren’t traditional for pasta e fagioli soup, but I left them in anyway. Why toss perfectly good veggies? I didn’t include them in the recipe here though.




You can use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you prefer. I would  have made chicken stock but I didn’t have enough chicken bones. And I certainly wasn’t going out to get some in a blizzard!

Don’t be put off by the wait time on this recipe.  That includes soaking the beans overnight. You can speed this up by using my quick soak method. That cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to only one.

If you’re really in a hurry, and don’t have the time or patience to soak and cook the beans for an hour or more, use a can of white cannellini beans instead. Make the rest of the soup, then add the can of beans.  Just cook them long enough to heat through.

Substitutions and Variations for Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Save time and use canned beans
  • Try different kinds of beans: pinto, kidney, or cranberry
  • Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock
  • Use bacon or pork fat instead of pancetta (I even used soppressata salami once)
  • Add one potato (cut into chunks) to the soup
  • Chop up a handful of spinach and add that with the pasta

More White Bean and Soup Recipes

easy italian wedding soupEasy Italian Wedding Soup

This should probably be called “dump” soup. All you do is pour the ingredients into a pot and heat them up. It’s a classic Italian soup that’s super-easy to make.

 

white bean salad with sun-dried tomatoesWhite Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I took an expensive pre-made grocery store salad and turned it into a budget-friendly side dish/salad by making it myself!

 

pork chili verdePork Chili Verde for One

Ground pork simmered in a green sauce of  hot peppers, potatoes, beans, and cumin.  A meal in one bowl (heats the house too).

 




Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers Puttanesca

In a hurry for dinner?  Pasta is your friend.  This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name.  Nobody really knows why.  One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.  Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.

Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor.  There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and nutty Niçoise olives. 

Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).  I always thought Niçoise  olives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.  Niçoise is just the method of curing them.

I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up.  That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.

Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.  However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.  Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.  Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.

The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.

Save the rest of the tomatoes for pasta alla norma.

The remaining capers will keep indefinitely in the fridge once opened.  They’re great with smoked salmon, lemon, and dill for a weekend brunch.




 

More Pasta Recipes

penne with feta cheese and sundried tomatoesPenne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Sweet tomatoes balanced by salty feta and tender pasta, combine for a delightful summer meal.  Drying the tomatoes intensifies their flavor.

 

smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauceSmoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

A velvety smooth sauce, with just a hint of cream.  The smoky, salty salmon complements the sweet tomatoes.  Check your grocer for salmon ends.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce with Penne

Sweet butternut squash, savory/sweet roasted garlic, and creamy parmesan added just at the end. Feels far more indulgent than it actually is.

 

pistachio pasta pestoPistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

A recipe inspired by a murder mystery (of all things). This is a twist on the usual pesto.  Because what would a mystery be without a twist?  No pine nuts and there’s broccoli instead of basil. The basil is just a garnish.