I'm posting this recipe because it takes me home. Chicken Spiedini isn't really something you see on the menu around NYC, but it is all over the place on certain Italian chain restaurants (and at a particular restaurant where I used to work overlooking the large fountain on the Plaza). Perhaps it's not very authentic, but it always, always tastes good. How can it not with crispy breadcrumbs, Parmesan and lots of lemon? I especially love it served over a lemony pasta tart with capers.
My version isn't technically spiedini, as it isn't on skewers, but it is made in the style of spiedinis I have loved so will continue to call it so. You could do it on the skewers if you so choose, but then you won't get the crispy edges all the way around the chicken.
1 lb. cubed chicken breast (1 1/2" cubes)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
2 t. lemon zest
1 TB chopped parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
9 oz. spaghetti
6 TB butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 c. capers
2 TB chopped parsley
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
extra lemon wedges for serving, optional
In a small bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper for the chicken. Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten eggs then roll in the breadcrumb mixture and set aside until all the chicken has been coated.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta as directed. Be sure to save back at least 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water before straining.
Heat 1/2" of cooking oil in a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat. (You don't want the heat to go too high or you will burn the breadcrumbs before cooking the chicken). Once hot add the chicken and cook until crispy on the outside all around and cooked through, working in batches if necessary to keep from crowding the chicken in the pan. Remove the cooked chicken to a paper towel covered plate.
After the chicken is finished and the pasta is cooked, finish the pasta. Add the butter and garlic to a pan (perhaps the pan you cooked the pasta in initially) and cook over medium until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant. Add the pasta and toss, then add 3 TB of the pasta cooking water and toss some more. Turn off the heat and then add the lemon juice and the capers to the pasta and toss some more. If the "sauce" seems too thin add another tablespoon or two of pasta cooking water. Then toss in the lemon zest, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Serve the pasta piled on a plate topped with the crispy chicken with extra lemon wedges on the side if you want even more bright acidity.