Seared Chicken & Pasta Salad with Lemon-Caper Sauce

Seared Chicken & Pasta Salad

with Lemon-Caper Sauce

45 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Thanks to its nutty flavor and small, round shape, fregola sarda—made from toasted semolina—is a uniquely delicious option for pasta salads. Here, as a seasonal side for pan-seared chicken, we’re tossing fregola sarda with sautéed summer vegetables and a rich, tangy sauce made from butter, lemon, and briny capers. (Note that depending on what’s best near you, you may receive green or grey zucchini, or yellow squash.)

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    660 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the squash. Cut off and discard the pepper stems; halve lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds. Thinly slice the peppers crosswise. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the capers. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems.

Cook the pasta:
2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

While the pasta cooks, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the peppers and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Transfer to a plate; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the chicken:
4 Cook the chicken:

While the pasta continues to cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board.

Make the sauce:
5 Make the sauce:

To the pan of reserved fond, add the butter, capers, and the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly and scraping up any fond from the bottom of the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined and the butter has melted. Turn off the heat.

Make the pasta salad & plate your dish:
6 Make the pasta salad & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, half the parsley, and the sauce. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the cooked chicken crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Divide the chicken and pasta salad between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining parsley and remaining lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the squash. Cut off and discard the pepper stems; halve lengthwise, then remove and discard the ribs and seeds. Thinly slice the peppers crosswise. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Roughly chop the capers. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and stems.

2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

Cook the pasta:
Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

While the pasta cooks, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the peppers and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Transfer to a plate; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a warm place. Wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the chicken:

While the pasta continues to cook, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board.

Cook the chicken:
Make the sauce:
5 Make the sauce:

To the pan of reserved fond, add the butter, capers, and the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly and scraping up any fond from the bottom of the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until thoroughly combined and the butter has melted. Turn off the heat.

6 Make the pasta salad & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, half the parsley, and the sauce. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the cooked chicken crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Divide the chicken and pasta salad between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining parsley and remaining lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Make the pasta salad & plate your dish:
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