Inspired by a dish at Carmine’s in New York, this lemony pasta is a quick and easy dish perfect for dinner parties. A definite crowd pleaser!
Our trip to New York in February was just what I’d needed: Refreshing, inspiring, relaxed and fun. But it wasn’t just about me. For my kids, it was a fresh look at a city they’ve been to but not really experienced.
And when we came back, I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and experiment with recipes inspired by all the good food we ate like poke bowls and a special pasta at Carmine’s. (For their part, my kids are happy to eat these reminders of the trip.)
It was the pasta that I most wanted to recreate. But it took time, several tests to get the right sauce to pasta ratio and lots of sampling. It needed to be just right — a good blend of marinated chicken, toppings and a sauce that is both tangy and buttery.
Now I’m ready to share it with the world.
This is Chicken, Greens and Roasted Red Peppers with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta. It’s a dish for special occasions. Serve this at dinner parties. Make it for holidays or when you have special guests. Serve it for birthdays, celebrations or … just because.
How to make this lemony pasta dish
This dish has several phases to it: marinating, cooking and arranging. Give yourself time to make this — the chicken, for instance, needs a few hours to marinate. The cooking is swift (under 30 minutes) but hands-on. And once arranged on the platter, eat it right away.
Start with the marinade. Chicken is marinated in a tangy mixture of lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper for a few hours.
Once ready, the chicken is cooked to perfection (about 10-15 minutes). Remove it from the pan and set it aside while you move onto the pan sauce. That’s a mixture of lemon juice, white wine, butter, and capers thickened with a little flour.
Also, the pasta needs to be cooked. I’d suggest doing that while the chicken is cooking.
While the lemony pasta sauce is boiling down, arrange the pasta on a platter.
A bed of angel hair pasta is topped with fresh baby spinach or other greens along with roasted red peppers and the chicken. Then the lemony pasta sauce is poured over.
Now, it’s ready to serve
Is this hard to make?
No, it’s not hard. But it’s more involved than my usual recipes.
Though I don’t typically share recipes with this many components, it’s worth it. Quick and easy is what we do almost every night. But sometimes you want something fancier, something more complex in flavor.
So yes, this recipe has a lot of ingredients. In fact, it has more than I typically cook with at once. But the result is worth it. And despite the number of ingredients, this cooks up quickly. The steps aren’t difficult either — just go one by one until you’re ready to serve.
How to serve this dish
This dish should be prepared on a rimmed platter for serving. I use a large serving fork for guests to choose their portion.
Pasta bowls are excellent for eating this from. If you don’t have them, offer guests plates.
But don’t serve this alone. Serve it with a tossed salad (a great dressing like shallot vinaigrette would be a prime accompaniment) or something different like Tomato, Peach and Basil Salad. An appetizer like Garlic Tomato Crostini with Ricotta would be great too.
Memories of a good trip
Food and memory are so intertwined. So, for my kids and I, the best thing about this dish isn’t the flavor per se (though that’s great too). It’s the reminder it gives of a wonderful trip.
I grew up in New York, went to college in New York and always thought I would move back to New York. Though I love Maine and it’s slower pace, the so-called City That Never Sleeps is part of my mental DNA. And I’ve missed it. I also really wanted my kids to experience my New York.
Since schools in Maine give students a full week off for President’s Week (it’s called tournament week here and it’s when high school basketball teams have their playoffs), we took the opportunity to spend time in Boston (our traditional President’s Week trip) and New York.
And while there, we went to museums, ate great food, visited Macy’s at Herald Square and Rockefeller Center and Central Park, saw a Broadway show, and so much more.
On our third day, we met my parents at Barnard College, where I went to school. Will has been there before when he was very young, but Paige hadn’t been and I couldn’t wait to show both of them around the Barnard campus and Columbia as well. Barnard is affiliated with Columbia in a way that’s ever-changing and hard to describe (in a nutshell: most classes at both schools are open to students from both schools). It was cool to do that with my parents who’ve never really gotten a full tour of the school.
Then we headed to dinner at Carmine’s, a New York institution. I’d never been there, but my parents adore it. And — wow — it was everything they’d said it would be. Huge portions (seriously, they are made for sharing), excellent food, and a wonderful atmosphere.
I cannot wait to go back. Neither can my kids. And yes, I mean both to Carmine’s and to New York.
Now, who’s ready to eat?
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (raw)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine, choose something you'd drink
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1/4 cup capers
- 1 lb angel hair pasta
- 1 cup baby spinach, arugula or microgreens
- 1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Arrange the chicken in the marinade. Cover and marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least two hours.
- Once it's time to cook, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken in batches, browning for 4-5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate to sit.
- Once the chicken is all cooked, add the butter and remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. When the butter is fully melted, whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Add the white wine, lemon juice and capers to the pan, whisking. Cook (boiling) for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, arrange on a platter with a lip. Top with the baby spinach, roasted red peppers and chicken. Drizzle the lemon sauce all over. Sprinkle with parsley.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.