Skip the Pasta and Make Cacio e Pepe Chicken Tonight

Complete with a cheese and pepper crust!

October 14, 2020
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If quick, weeknight dinners are starting to feel mundane, we’ve got just the solution — cacio e pepe chicken. The flavors from the classic pasta dish you love are deliciously captured in this roasted chicken dinner in the form of a pepper- and Parmesan-laden crust. Just one bite, and you’ll be rid of plain, baked chicken for good.

During Elena Besser’s class on the Food Network Kitchen app, she shows us how quickly and easily this dish comes together. She starts with bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on, but she says that both boneless, skinless thighs and breasts work, too (though, you might need to adjust the cooking time). If cooking chicken with the skin on, you’ll get a nice rendering of fat to cook the sides of corn and radishes in, adding incredible flavor when searing the chicken on the stove. Since the chicken is the real star of this dish, you can pair it with just about anything you like. Elena opts for corn and radishes, but she says that any veggie will work.

After searing the chicken and pan-frying the vegetables, you’ll want to add some lemon juice to the top of the thighs before adding the cheese and pepper mixture. This will give the mixture something to adhere to and help it crisp up on top of the chicken in the oven.

While it might be hard to save some chicken for leftovers, there might be good reason to. You can pull the chicken to cook with, add it to a Caesar salad or make a chicken salad sandwich with it. No matter what form you enjoy the chicken in, the cheese and pepper will come through beautifully, the buttery radishes will add a little crunch, the corn will add sweetness and the lemon and basil garnish will freshen the dish up. Overall, it’s a winner any night of the week.

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