Since Hubs was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, we don't eat a lot of pasta anymore. I won't lie and say that I don't miss it, but when I do make it, I'm always looking for something that I can adapt into a meal that everyone in my family will eat. This one was fantastic-you cook the chicken in the sauce, but then serve the chicken on the side and mix the sauce with pasta. That way Hubs could have a salad on the side while Kevin and I enjoyed some pasta! This recipe made quite a lot, so be prepared for some pasta leftovers that would be great in a lunch box the next day.
Adapted from Mimi on the Move and The Crepes of Wrath
5 large chicken legs or breasts (I used breasts, but they got a bit dry. I think that using some chicken thighs here would probably be the best thing-say, about 8?)
5 Tbsp paprika (whatever king you like-sweet, smoked, regular)
2 1/2 tsp basil
2 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, divided (I used a lot less-you can add more at the end if you need to)
2 1/2 tsp salt (I reduced this by quite a bit)
2 1/2 tsp pepper (reduced this too-you can use your judgment, I added some at the end)
1 large onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
38 oz crushed or diced tomatoes (I used a 24 oz can of crushed and a 14 oz can of diced, like Sydney recommended)
1 four oz can of tomato paste
1 pound of small pasta-shells are good
3/4 cup sour cream
In a small bowl, stir together the oregano, basil, paprika, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and about 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Rub all over each piece of chicken. Set aside. Keep the remaining spices.
Using a large skillet, pour in a few glugs of olive oil and over medium high heat, brown the chicken well on each side until they are nice and browned, about 5 minutes per side. Set each piece aside on a plate. You may have to sear the chicken in batches.
When you're finished, using the same pan, add a little more oil and turn down the heat, then add in your onions and garlic. Reduce the heat to around medium, and stir them around to keep them from browning too much. Saute for about 5 minutes, until they are softened. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, and stir around to get all the browned bits off the bottom. I had some leftover spices that were supposed to go on the chicken, and I think they would be really good added to the sauce, so if you had some I'd just dump them in. Add the chicken back to the pan, skin side down, and bring the sauce up to a boil.
Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid, and let it simmer for about an hour or two. This is where leg or thigh meat is the best, because it becomes tender-the breasts tended to go dry and I couldn't simmer it for very long, which is what I think makes the amazing flavor. Check and stir the sauce, flipping the thighs every once in awhile to make sure things don't burn.
About 20 minutes before you are going to serve the dish, cook some pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions.
Right before you are about to eat, take the pan off the stove and set aside. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover to keep it warm. Measure your sour cream into a medium sized bowl, and then add a few spoonfuls of the hot sauce, stirring. What you are doing is tempering your sour cream so that it's warm-ish before you add it to the sauce. Add a little more hot sauce, and stir. I added about 1/2 cup total before I then dumped the whole lot into the pan of hot sauce and stirred it well.
Add the hot cooked pasta, stir to combine, and serve with the chicken on the side.
Serves 5 with pasta leftovers for the next evening.