Chicken Piccata Pasta
Chicken piccata gets the full pasta treatment! Cook the penne, make a quick butter sauce, and assemble it all together. This easy lemony chicken dish will wow your kids!
Introducing kids to new flavors (or even just slight changes from what they are used to) is one of my all-time goals as far as raising healthy eaters.
Chicken nuggets are a staple in our house, like many American homes, so my kids are very familiar with the idea of bite-sized pieces of fried chicken. This recipe takes hold of that and introduces it in a slightly different way: Chicken Piccata!
Chopping up the chicken and adding it to penne also makes it very approachable to kids. It’s a recipe that has the best of chicken piccata, but in a slightly easier-to-serve preparation.
WHAT IS CHICKEN PICCATA?
Chicken piccata is a classic Italian dish that’s made by lightly pan-frying chicken cutlets in olive oil. Traditionally, after the chicken is fried, you use the same pan to make a bright sauce of lemon, butter, and capers that gets served over the chicken, alongside pasta.
It’s one of my favorite Italian recipes, but can be a bit tough for kids because it’s a huge piece of chicken that many of them can’t yet cut for themselves, and the sauce has some flavors that some kids may not be used to, such as the saltiness of capers.
MAKING CHICKEN PICCATA KID-FRIENDLY
Instead of serving a big hunk of chicken, I chop it up after cooking it and add it back to the pasta, which makes it much more approachable for the kids.
Also, instead of pouring the sauce over the chicken, I stir it all together with the penne pasta so kids can’t identify the ingredients that they might not be used to. Rather than a big pile of capers, they just get the occasional caper.
STORING AND REHEATING THE PENNE
This recipe makes a lot of food! You will almost certainly have leftovers. Here are some pointers.
- If possible, I recommend storing the chicken and the pasta separately. Ultimately, it’s okay to store it together if that’s easier for you, but just know that the chicken will lose some of its crunch if it’s stored with the pasta.
- Don’t chop and stir in all the chicken in the recipe if you are planning on saving some to reheat later.
- When it’s time to eat the leftovers you’ve stored separately, reheat the chicken in a 350°F oven until warmed through, maybe eight minutes. Reheat the pasta gently on the stovetop in a saucepan, with a splash of water. Then combine them!
The DAD ADD: Buttered Italian Breadcrumbs!
These buttery toasted breadcrumbs go well on almost any pasta dish and add some great texture. My favorite part of chicken piccata is the super thin crispy crust, so I figured, why not just make that crust in breadcrumb form and sprinkle it on?
I made this Dad Add for me, but my kids like it, also!
Rejoice! This was a big hit with my family, which is funny because I’ve made traditional chicken piccata that went untouched. It’s all in the presentation!
Both of my kids ate big helpings of the pasta and chicken and even tried some capers. My four-year old really likes capers, so I know he is mine. The verdict is out on the two-year old. (Re: capers, not Re: Dad).
For extra credit, we had another family over to dinner on the night I made this, and both of their two young kids also loved this dish. So it got a four-out-of-four from the kids who tried it.
I think that pretty much means it’s a home run.
I’m sure the next time I make it, my kids will act like I’m trying to feed them mutant alien dinner. Go figure.
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- Goldfish Chicken Tenders
- Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
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- Baked Chicken Taquitos
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