Lemony Pasta with Seared Chicken + Garbanzo Beans
Why we love it:
- 3⁄4 pound Chicken Tenders
- 7 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 1⁄4 cup Capers
- 1 head Cauliflower
- 2 cloves Garlic (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (plus more for cooking the pasta)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 15-ounce can Garbanzo Beans
- 1⁄4 cup Unsalted Butter
- 8 ounces Fusilli Pasta (or preferred shape)
- 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
- 6 cups Arugula (baby, if you can find it)
- 4 ounces Parmesan Cheese
1. BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL
Dice the chicken into 1" pieces or so. Heat in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high; add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in one layer in the hot pan, let it sit and sear for 4 -5 minutes until golden brown and releasing from the pan. Flip the pieces over and cook the other side for 1 - 2 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat 4 Tablespoons in the same pan. Add the capers and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until they burst open and are crispy, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the capers to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve oil in skillet.
Slice cauliflower into florets. Then dice up the core and most of the leaves too - only remove the leaves that are yellowed or with holes, and slice off the bottom most ¼” of the core. The rest is great to cook!
Add the cauliflower to the same skillet over medium-high heat, and stir often, until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
Mince the garlic while cauliflower is cooking. Then reduce the heat to low and add garlic, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Cover and cook until cauliflower begins to soften throughout, about 4 minutes long.
Uncover and increase heat to high. Drain the beans and add them. Add 2 Tablespoons butter, and remaining 2 Tablespoons oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and garbanzoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in the water, with a tablespoon or so of salt. Stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, but reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Remove the pan with the cauliflower from the heat. Zest and lemon and set aside. Add lemon juice, ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 2 Tablespoons. butter. Add the drained pasta, tossing and adding a little more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until nicely coated.
If serving right now, toss the hot pasta/cauliflower combo with the arugula then divide among bowls, stirring to combine. Top with reserved crispy capers and heaps of parmesan cheese and zest.
If serving anytime after 5 minutes from now, keep the arugula separate. This includes if you expect to have leftovers. You can toss with arugula once the pasta and sauce have cooled to about room temperature, that will be enough to slightly wilt but not brown the fresh greens.