This Chicken Tuscano Pasta has solidified my ranking as a “Master Liar” in the parenting game. I am rocking my crown proudly, people. Real proud.
I needed to take a mental break while I was typing this post; so naturally, I dropped in to see what drama was unfolding over on Facebook. You’re thinking, “Who takes a mental break by going to Facebook!?!? You crazy, or something?!?!” I find Facebook quite humorous, actually. Here’s the one place where you’ll find someone passive-aggressively venting about their mother-in-law, then suddenly end up in Tahiti with that friend whom you live vicariously through. One second you’re “ooh’ing” and “aah’ing” over a newborn; the next, you’re rolling your eyes at another one who’s ranting about how the world has offended them…again. Facebook is the modern day soap opera.
Now, what I happened to find so ironic on Facebook during my break was a post a friend of mine, Rebecca, shared. She wrote, “Drop a Mom (Parent) confession- judgement free,” and what followed was utter hilarity. But, why was this question so ironic? Well, because this Chicken Tuscano Pasta recipe was my “Mom Confession.”
You don’t know what a “Mom Confession” is?
Yeaaahhh, okay. You know exactly what a “Mom (or Parent) Confession” is. Whether or not you want to admit you have one is a different story altogether. A “Mom Confession” is that thing you did which you feel so ashamed and embarrassed by, that you never want to admit it to anyone…not even Jesus. It’s that thing that you know Jesus saw, but you’re scared to pray about it because you know He’s got a room in purgatory with a big ol’ gold star plastered on the door with your name etched on it (in sans serif). It’s that memory that makes you feel like your going to Hell’s greenroom to be interviewed by Satan, himself. That’s a “Mom Confession”. I have loooooads of “MC’s”.
Like the time Hector and I decided it would be great fun to learn how to do infant massage. We were wrapping up a peaceful half-hour of massaging our little Twinkies’ newborn bodies; you know, because with all of the tension in their 3-week-old lives, they needed a nice shiatsu to relieve the stress. The instructor told us in her annoyingly soft, nasaly, faux-yogi voice,
“Okay, Mom and Dad, let’s each pick up a baby and envelop them in the warmth of our nurturing embraces to namaste the session. Yessss…that’s lovely. Do you feel the energy flowing from baby’s heart to yours, Dad? Yes? Yesssss…that’s lovely. I receive that. Mmmhmmm…What about you, Mom? What’s flowing from baby to your heart, Mom? Can you share?”
“Uh, yeah. ‘Baby’s’ poo is flowing from him to me!!!” I proceeded to chuck my child to the guru for her to “namaste” with it. The annoyance in me received, and honored, the crap that was in my hand, and I wanted to wash it off. Consequently, I never massaged them again.
Some “MC’s” are a bit more intense. Take, for instance, the time I drove my disobedient 10 year-old to the nearest juvenile detention facility and told him to get out of the car to meet his brand-new family. The look of horror on the child’s face when the intake guard came out and asked him, “Are you my new charge?” Sent me into internal hysterics. The insurrectionist pleaded with me for another chance. After a stern talking to, and a knowing wink from the officer, I relented and drove back home. Haven’t had an issue like that since.
This Chicken Tuscano Pasta was born out of a lie I told to the Twinks.
They had been begging me to take them to the breadstick-famous, chain-Italian restaurant. Since this restaurant has the power to sue me, I’ll just refer to them as the “OG Italian Joint,” or “OG,” for short. The Twinks wanted to eat at the OG, but I have a real issue with dishing out hard-earned money for subpar food- especially when I have the skill and the ingredients to do a better job. The Twinks were relentless though, which was interesting because- who fights really fights for OG?!? After realizing that these imps weren’t going to leave me to my Moscow mule and Real Housewives of Hollywood without doling out the slop, I cultivated a plan.
When the kids went outside to play, I pan-seared some chicken and oven-roasted some cherry tomatoes. I put them in old take out containers that we reuse as tupperware because we’re too cheap to buy the real thing, then put them in a Magnolia Market shopping bag I had laying around. After I drew a big old olive branch on the front of the bag with a black sharpie, I threw in a package of vermicelli that I rerapped in plastic. I poured wine and cream, and shredded some parmesan cheese, all of which I threw into cute little ziploc bags. Packing the rest of this into my DIY “OG Bag”, I called the Twins in.
“Hey guys. I’ma go on ahead and run to OG for you. I’m annoyed, but I’m also a good Mom *side-eye*. I’ont even know why I’m doing all this. Spending money on nonsense food when we have perfectly good food right here, but I’m a blessing from God to you…I know you better stop laughing, is what I know..*glare*…and even though you don’t NEVER show me how much you love me, I’m gonna go ‘head and treat you *eye roll followed by exasperated sigh* Hand me my keys. Get on my nerves, having to drive out there for this mess!”
“Thank you, MOM! We promise, we’ll never ask again! Paah-ROM-isss!!”
“You’d BET’ not!”
I drove around the block for ten minutes trying to find inspiration for our front yard’s flower bed and drove back to the house. I walked into the kitchen and plopped down the bag without looking at either of the Twinkies directly.
“Uh…that was quick.”
“MMhmmm. I called ahead and pre-ordered. Went through the drive-thru.”
“OG doesn’t have a drive-thru, Ma.”
“Yeah, yeah they do. They just opened it.”
“We just drove by there two days ago and there wasn’t a drive-thru.”
“Listen! I’m not about to sit up here and argue with you about no drive-thru. This ain’t no Italian Inquisition!!”
“Spanish, Ma. It’s ‘the Spanish Inquisition’.”
“Who you getting smart with?!?! What’s this here bag say? Huh? “O” “G” is what. That’s IT-alian. I’m making a correlation. I know it’s the Spanish Inquisition. I’m your history teacher, re-MEM-BER!?!? You know what, I don’t even need to put up with this. Here I am, going out of my way to pick up this nasty food for you and you want to sit up here and question me like I’m lying!”
“We’re sorry, Ma. It’s just the bag has the name all misspelled and it smells like Sharpie, so it just seemed odd. We’re sorry. We don’t think you’re lying at all.”
“Alright, alright. Let me go ahead and make it.”
“What do you mean, ‘Make it’?”
“Oh, I bought the prepare-it-yourself Chicken Tuscano Pasta meal. It’s a new thing, like, them meal delivery services but without the delivery service. Like…you’re the delivery-person.”
“Meal prepar…WHAT!?!? Are you kidding?!?! It’s not even made yet!?!”
“You know what!?!?! I’m about fed up with this harassment! How about you eat PB&J?!? How ’bout that?”
At this point, I had truly forgotten that I was conspiring to trick my children, and genuinely became offended at their lack of trust. They eased up and allowed me to put together their faux-OG meal. We ate and enjoyed it in relative silence. Towards the end of the meal, they both admitted, “This was the best meal I’ve ever had from OG. We should pick this Chicken Tuscano Pasta more often, Mom.”
Crap. Now, I have to concoct a story about how the drive-thru collapsed on some innocent patron the next time we drive by.
There it is. My “Mom Confession” laid out in all of its glory. I may start teaching courses, actually.
Now, I’m not advocating for breaking trust with your children on a regular. But, misgivings happen- Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, El Cuco, me fitting into my jeans from high school: all lies. Parent aren’t the only ones who do it, either. It’s a symbiotic relationship. In fact, the other day I came downstairs to find my coffee-maker’s glass carafe had been broken and taped, yes, TAPED, back together. Instead of the culprit coming to me and admitting their mortal sin of interfering with my morning cuppa, they taped it together and put it back in the coffee-maker so I could drink a cup full of glass shards. Trust= demolished. But, I still love my babies and know that they mean well. One day, we’ll look back on this recipe and laugh…I just hope they laugh at all the other “Mom Confessions” I have as well.
Drop your “Parent Confession” below- no judgement (you may even inspire me with new ideas). Pin the recipe for Chicken Tuscano Pasta for later.
Chicken Tuscano Pasta
Yield 8 servings
This quick fix dinner is a walk through the Tuscan meadows. Pan-roasted tomatoes lend a sweet punch to a rich, creamy sauce.
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cleaned and sliced in half
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb vermicelli or angel hair pasta
10 oz bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with foil. Once the oven is hot, toss the cherry tomatoes with the tbsp of olive oil to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes while you prepare the chicken, tossing once during the roasting process.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the chicken breasts with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.
- Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken breasts and sear for 4 minutes on one side before turning and searing on the opposite side for 4 more minutes. Remove from the pan to a plate and allow to rest.
- In a large, separate pot, bring a gallon of water to a rapid boil.
- While the water is waiting to boil, add the shallots and minced garlic to the skillet that you seared the chicken in. Sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, making sure to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon. Allow the liquid to reduce by three-quarters.
- Stir in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and allow to reduce by 1/2. While your stock is reducing, cut the chicken breast into 1" chunks. Your water should also be boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
- By now your tomatoes should be roasted and caramelized. Remove them from the pan with a spatula (it's okay if they look really dark), and set them aside.
- Remove the sauté pan from the heat and slowly stir in the heavy cream. Return the pan to the burner and reheat on low. Add the chicken breast, the tomatoes and the spinach. Stir to combine.
- Drain your pasta and add to the pan. Adjust the seasoning to your preference. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and serve.