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Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The most important thing in my life is my family. I love my dear husband and 4 wonderful children (ages 11 through 18). I am a stay-at-home mom (my dream job!). Some of my favorite things to do include cooking (and eating!), photography, reading, piano, flute, watching my favorite TV shows, swimming, traveling, and most recently...using the rip stick with my kids. I would love to attend culinary school someday & fit my love of photography in with that somehow. My dream vacation is Italy - something I was recently blessed to experience! I'd love to return and see more of that beautiful and DELICIOUS country! My days are usually full of running kids to and from activities - scouts, sports, music and church. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, but I absolutely LOVE my crazy life and the people I am lucky enough to share it with!

Friday, April 9, 2010

SICILIAN CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PENNE AND MOZZARELLA (from Art Smith's KITCHEN LIFE)

Chicken thighs are great candidates for braising because they can be simmered longer than chicken breasts without drying out. Don't overlook them when you're shopping-and their lower price tag is an extra bonus! Here I simmer them in a zesty tomato sauce (leave out the capers and green olives if you wish), top them with mozzarella, and serve them with pasta. Toss a salad, and dinner is served. If you want to prepare this recipe for later use, freeze the chicken thighs in sauce and add to the penne just before serving.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, or 1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped green olives
2 tablespoons drained and rinsed capers
8 ounces mozzarella, preferably fresh, cut into 6 slices
1 pound penne, cooked

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add the onion and red pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and Italian herbs, and stir until the garlic gives off its aroma, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice. Return the chicken to the skillet and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part, about 30 minutes. Stir in the olives and capers. Place 1 mozzarella slice on
each thigh, cover, and cook just until the mozzarella melts, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook until barely tender, about 9 minutes. Drain well. Return the pasta to the pot and cover to keep warm.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mozzarella-topped chicken to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to high and boil the tomato sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir the tomato sauce into the penne.

Place the penne in bowls and top with a chicken thigh. Serve hot.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

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