It’s become popular in recent years to keep a gratitude journal. Often no more than a simple notebook, this practice allows one to list and enumerate the many things for which they feel grateful. I’ve often considered adopting this habit, but have never quite managed to commit to that kind of journaling (sometimes it’s all I can do to keep up this website).
However, I have much that for which I am grateful. And if I were to start making lists, near the top would be my gratitude for my dinner making abilities. It might sound silly, but I am grateful that it’s something I have both the means and the skills to do without a whole lot of heartache or struggle.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve picked up an assortment of know-how related to making dinner. How to make soup. How to roast vegetables. How to toast grains in a little bit of butter before adding water to increase their deliciousness. And how to make a one-pot pasta dish.
I’ve made a number of these pasta dishes over the years (here’s a memorably delicious one) and their original inspiration is always the single skillet pasta recipe from Martha Stewart that took the internet by storm a several years back. This one takes a bit longer than the Martha version, but most of the time is hands off, so it still manages to feel blessedly simple.
This particular one-pan pasta dish features a whole bunch of leeks, braised boneless, skinless chicken thighs, baby spinach, creme fraiche (for creaminess), and several tablespoons of diced preserved lemon peel (about three-quarters of a small preserved lemon).
The resulting meal is hearty, bright, and really comforting. It reminds me of the casseroles of my childhood, only without a can of cream of mushroom soup.
I made this dish this weekend particularly to feature the Lagostina Nera Hard Anodized 5 Quart Casserole. A few months back, a rep from Lagostina emailed and invited me to participate a promotion/giveaway to show off the goodness that is this pan.
And it is good. The wide cooking area and non-stick surface makes for quick cooking and even speedier clean-up. The tight-fitting lid makes a nice braising environment. It’s oven safe (in case you want to crisp the top of your pasta). And it’s pretty enough to go straight from stovetop to the table.
The Lagostina Nera Hard Anodized 5 Quart Casserole is valued at $49.99 (a steal for such a sturdy pan) and can be found exclusively at Macy’s. For more information about Lagostina, check out their social accounts and visit their website.
Thanks to the kind folks at Lagostina, I have one of these lovely casseroles to give away. Please use the widget below to enter.
Disclosure: Lagostina sent me this casserole to use and write about. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks, well washed, trimmed of the tough ends and sliced into half moons
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 12 ounces baby spinach
- 12 ounces small pasta
- 4 ounces crème fraiche
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3-4 tablespoons diced preserved lemon peel
- Heat the olive oil over high heat in a five quart casserole like the one pictured above. Add the cleaned and sliced leeks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat, until they wilt and reduce.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Push the cooking leeks to one side of the pan and arrange the chicken among the leeks. Cook the chicken until brown and flip.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan (I dissolved a couple spoonfuls of Better Than Bouillon into 4 cups of boiling water) and cover. Reduce heat to medium and braise for 30 minutes.
- When time is up, add the baby spinach to the pan. Cover and cook for five minutes.
- Stir the wilting spinach into the chicken and use your spatula to break up the chicken into shreds.
- Add the pasta (if the pan is looking dry, add a bit more water). Cover and cook for 12-14 minutes, until pasta is tender.
- Stir in the creme fraiche, parmesan cheese and preserved lemon peel. If the pan looks dry, add a splash of water to loosen the pasta.
- Serve hot.