All the classic flavors of Chicken Piccata combined with a low carb noodle alternative make for a surprisingly easy weeknight dinner. I can’t remember the exact moment I first had Chicken Piccata but I do know that it was when I first moved to New York to be with my then boyfriend, who quickly put a ring on it to become my fiancé, Bill. So, we are talking about the year 2000 until I had my first bite of Chicken Piccata. What?!
Why did it take me almost 23 years to taste this amazing lemony, buttery flavored chicken?!
I did not grow up under a rock, for sure, but I also did not grow up eating a variety of Italian dishes. I guess we stayed more with traditional red sauce dishes. My mom’s meat sauce for spaghetti, lasagna, and baked ziti is one of my kids’ most requested dinners.
It was a tradition to eat at the Italian Home in Farrell, Pennsylvania when we visited my grandparents, but it was the simple spaghetti and meatballs we couldn’t resist. And the pizza at Victor Emmanuel II in Reading, Pennsylvania was our go-to when we went there.
Apparently, though, there was a whole other world of Italian dishes like Piccata that I had been missing out on.
When I moved to New York, it seemed like every nearby restaurant featured popular Italian Chicken dishes that finally caught my eye. Marsala, Francese, Milano, Piccata and so many more! They were all love at first bite.
Even more exciting was that I expanded my own cooking repertoire with these dishes.
So for a playful spin on a traditional Piccata, I decided to combine my love for spaghetti squash with this simple butter, wine and lemon drenched chicken. The result? An easy weeknight dinner that looks and tastes impressive.Instead of the classic preparation that uses cutlets, I’m cubing chicken breasts which will help me get this dinner to the table even faster. It’s coated with flour and pan fried. The chicken cooks evenly and stays tender and juicy on the inside yet slightly crispy on the outside.Once the chicken is cooked, I get to use that same pan to make that rich buttery sauce. I start with butter, shallots and garlic and then build my sauce with wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice.Once all that has reduced and comes together, more butter gets whisked in and the sauce gets decorated with briney capers and fresh chopped parsley.And finally, I add my chicken back to the sauce and give it all a gentle toss. The chicken gets glazed with that light lemon tasting yet oh, so buttery rich wine flavor.After I’ve prepared my spaghetti squash boats like this and snuck a little parmesan in, spoonfuls of the shiny and saucy chicken get stuffed into the spaghetti squash boats, which adds a little sweetness and offers a healthier substitute to pasta.Topped with a little more rich grated parmesan and bright parsley, we are experiencing dinner bliss.I love this dish! It is a simple combination of ingredients that gives you a complex flavor, which makes it a gem of a recipe. It has even made it into my weeknight dinner rotation, which, if you ask my husband, is a big deal! What is your favorite Italian chicken dish?
Want more classic Italian flavor stuffed into spaghetti squash? Try my Spaghetti Squash, Spinach and Turkey Lasagna Boats.
- 2 small or 1 large Spaghetti Squash, halved, cooked and shredded with a fork
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound chicken tenders or chicken breasts cut into 1’’ cubes
- ½ cup All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- pinch of pepper
- ¾ cup white wine
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3.5 ounce jar Brined Capers, drained
- 4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, reserve some for garnish
- grated parmesan to taste
- additional salt and pepper to taste
- CHICKEN: Add cubed chicken, flour, salt and pepper to a large Ziploc bag. Shake to coat evenly.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Using tongs, remove flour coated chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour, and add to pan. Do not overcrowd and cook in small batches if necessary. Add additional olive oil if making in batches.
- Cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked throughout, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- SAUCE: Return the skillet to stove, and reduce heat to medium. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the shallot and sauté until softened, about 1 minute.
- Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Turn heat to medium-high, and cook until reduced by about half, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and lemon juice, cook until reduced by about half.
- Remove skillet from heat and whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter.
- When butter is melted, add capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add cooked chicken back to the skillet and gently toss to coat.
- To serve, sprinkle a small handful of parmesan into the spaghetti squash boats after you have used your fork to "shred" them.
- Spoon the chicken into the boats, making sure to add more sauce over the top.
- Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.