Orecchiette with ‘Just Cook’ Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Parsley Pesto

I love pasta. I really do. At some point I want to make my own but that’s for another day. Orecchiette or ‘little ears’ are great because not only are they cute but they’re really versatile. They’re the best for a dish that really shows off its sauce since the ears hold onto it very well. I was itching to make my own sauce since a lot of times store bought ones don’t taste as fresh or as good, so I thought of all my favorite ingredients: garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and, of course, olive oil. I put all of them in a blender and then added a little of what I thought was missing along with a good handful of salt and pepper. The key is to not put too much in at first and taste as you go. Otherwise, you end up with a huge amount of something that still doesn’t taste right and the farther you go the worse it tastes…

After the sauce I started making the sprouts. I haven’t made brussels sprouts very often, and when I do they never come out quite the way I want them. So I tried a few new things, and I think they came out really well. Some people like them a certain way, but you can always do the parts that seem good to you. I turned the heat on medium high and got the sprouts nice and colored. For me, that means spots of brown and black. I’ve had problems with them not cooking all the way through so at this point I added just a little bit of water to the pan and covered it. It allowed it to steam really fast. Now, there’s a fine line between steamed and soggy so after a few minutes I dumped the water and continued to sautée until some of the leaves turn a dark purple. After that, set aside.

Let’s talk chicken for a minute. I don’t know how you feel about it but at my house we can’t get enough of it. However, using the same spices gets a little boring since we make it so much. While visiting the Bay Area we came across a new business called the local butcher shop. If you are serious about meat…they are too. We picked up some meringues from them made with fennel pollen, which were good, though next time I want to try their chocolate chip cookies made with lard. But I digress… We found a really cool rub made locally to San Francisco from ‘just cook’ called any day chicken. It has orange peel, sugar, kosher salt, pepper, sage, cardamom, oregano, and lavender. It has a really great fresh taste to it without making it cuisine-specific. I thought my sauce complimented it and you could still taste both quite well. Brunel brined and rubbed a whole chicken with that the day before so I just pulled some from there to put in my dish.

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After you make everything, throw it all together and top with your favorite cheese. However, Parmesan is always a good choice.

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This is my first recipe on here where the inspiration was my imagination!

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