Weekly Winner: And I’m Still Not Sure Why

Crispy Chicken Thighs & Pasta   This week was a very good food week.  Lots of tasty stuff came out of the kitchen this week.  When I thought back and tried to determine which would make the Weekly Winner I just kept coming back to this one dish.  I still don’t know why.  It has absolutely no right to win.  It’s too simple.  It’s nothing different or fancy.  It doesn’t even have any pork products in it!  And yet, both hubby and I decided that this was the dish.  It is Crispy Chicken Thighs with Pasta and Pesto.  Yep, that’s it.  And that is truly all it is.  Chicken.  Pasta.  Pesto.  And yet, it worked.  No, it more than worked.  It rocked.  Simplicity at its absolute best.  The recipe came from Southern Living Magazine, which in and of itself is an unlikely source for my recipes.

I think if I am being perfectly honest, another reason I am so in love with this dish is that it turned out looking exactly like the picture in the magazine.  And to prove it, the first picture is mine, the second from the magazine.  See?  I know!  Try this recipe and tell me why it wins.  I still don’t know.crispy-chicken-thighs-pasta-pesto-l

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Pasta and Pesto


3 ½ to 4 lb skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 7 thighs)

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

½ tsp vegetable oil

8 oz. cellentani pasta

1 cup chicken broth

Arugula Pesto


Preheat oven to 400.  Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and paprika.

Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over high heat until oil just begins to smoke

Place chicken in skillet, skin sides down; reduce heat to medium-high, and cook 15 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate; discard drippings.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Toss with chicken broth and 3 tablespoons Arugula Pesto.  Add mixture to skillet.  Place chicken, skin sides up, on pasta.

Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes.  Dollop with additional Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto:

Process 2 cups firmly packed arugula, ½ cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate up to 1 week.  Makes 1 cup.

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