You should probably sit down for this one: we put crispy chicken skin on the pasta.
I know, we think it’s a great idea, too. Brown the chicken first then finish it in a simple tomato sauce. The cooked chicken gets shredded and added back to the sauce while the skin continues to crisp in the oven. You’ll be using this trick for meals to come. Cook, relax and enjoy!
What you’ll need:
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
fresh basil sprigs
2 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
8 oz gemelli
1 oz Pecorino Romano
freshly ground pepper
1. Prep vegetables
Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim root from onion. Peel, halve and thinly slice. Peel and finely chop garlic. Pick basil from stems. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Sear chicken
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until golden, another 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Cook tomatoes
Add onions and garlic to skillet; sauté until softened, 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, breaking up with a spoon, and chile flakes, and cook until slightly reduced. Add chicken to sauce, skin-side up, and transfer to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes.
4. Boil pasta
Meanwhile, cook gemelli in boiling salted water until al dente, 6–8 minutes. Drain, and reserve 1 cup pasta water. Grate Pecorino.
5. Crisp skin
Remove skin from chicken and place crispy-side down on a sheet of aluminum foil. Return skin to oven and bake until very crispy, 5–8 minutes; roughly chop chicken skin. Remove chicken from sauce and use forks to shred into bite-size pieces; return meat to sauce.
6. Finish pasta
Return sauce to a simmer. Add gemelli, all but a few basil leaves, and ¾ cup pasta water. Cook, tossing, until sauce reduces and coats pasta, 3–4 minutes. Add half of Pecorino and toss to combine. Top with remaining basil leaves, Pecorino and chicken skin. Enjoy!