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Pasta with Garlic and Feta Cheese

This wonderful and easy dish has layers of distinct flavors.  It can be brought to the table in under an hour and only needs half that in preparation time.  It can be made with shrimp, scallops or boneless chicken and is one of a few creations that everyone in my family raved about.

1½ pounds    boneless chicken cut in thumb size pieces (or shrimp or scallops)
1 pound dried pasta, cooked al dente
10 cloves    garlic, minced, divided
2-28 ounce cans    diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup    dry white wine
1 teaspoon    crushed red pepper
½ cup    parsley, divided
4 ounces    Feta cheese
¼ cup    fresh lemon juice
olive oil for sautéing
    salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

If using shrimp you won't need to brown them first.  Just make sure they have been shelled and deveined before tossing with the sautéed garlic.

Sauté the garlic and set half aside in a bowl large enough for the chicken or shellfish reserving the rest.  Using a very hot skillet sear the chicken or scallops.  They should be browned on the outside but not cooked through.  This should only take 1-2 minutes per side depending on how hot the skillet is.  You may want to do this in batches so as not to crowd, thus cooling down, the skillet.  When browned add to the sautéed garlic and toss.

Use a little wine to deglaze the skillet and put in the reserved garlic, the tomatoes, red pepper, one half of the parsley and the remaining wine.  Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce, about 10-15 minutes.  Add the chicken or shellfish and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  At this time add salt and pepper to taste.

When the mixture has finished simmering pour into a 9"x13" baking dish (or leave in skillet if ovenproof.)  Top with the feta cheese and bake in oven for 10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese begins to melt.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with the lemon juice and remaining parsley.

Serve over the pasta.


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