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family pasta night

jeff marissa

Marissa and Jeff were in Mexico this past weekend for a wedding and came back through here Sunday and Monday on their way back to Austin. I decided a big pasta dish was just the thing to satisfy everyone for our Sunday dinner.


The dish uses six garlic cloves. Four are peeled and sliced and 2 are left whole. If you hate mincing a bunch of tiny garlic cloves, as I do, this is the perfect way to use those little pains. Gather them up and estimate how many make up a large clove and use them as the whole cloves in this recipe. See, I got rid of eight little ones in one fell swoop.


Meyer Lemon Spaghetti with Parmesan Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • 2 Meyer lemons, well washed
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 6 large peeled garlic cloves, divided; 4 thinly sliced, 2 left whole
  • 3/4 cup Panko
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, leaves and tender stems, minced

pounding chicken

Chicken: Use This Method to pound out the chicken breasts.

Whisk together the egg and milk in a flat bowl, and season with salt and pepper.

Mix the Panko and Parmesan together on a large plate and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Dip the chicken breasts in milk and egg mixture and then in bread crumbs, turning to coat thoroughly.

brown chicken

Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Let rest for 5 minutes and then slice thinly on a diagonal. Cut long strips into manageable or bite-size pieces. Clean out the skillet by carefully removing any bits and pieces of bread crumbs, do not completely clean or wipe out the skillet, you’ll be using it a few more times, do not wash between uses.

meyer lemons zest

Spaghetti: Use a Microplane to remove the zest from both lemons, cover the zest to keep it from drying out, and set it aside. Cut the lemons into quarters and thinly slice crosswise, removing seeds as you go.

Place the sliced lemons in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss to combine, cover, and set aside.

Put a large pot of water over high heat to come to a boil.

fragrant garlic

In the same skillet used for the chicken, heat 1 heaping tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat add the whole garlic cloves, and stir for about 45 seconds or until fragrant. Remove and discard the garlic.

brown panko

Add the Panko, season with salt and pepper, and let brown, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted. Immediately transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

sliced shallots

Return the skillet to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sliced shallot, sliced garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan.

add meyer lemons

Next, add the marinated lemon slices and their liquid and cook until nearly all the liquid is gone and the lemons are softened and lightly caramelized.

caramelize lemon

While the lemon is cooking, season the boiling water with salt and add the pasta, cook according to package directions. When ready to drain, reserve 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water and set aside.

add parsley

When the lemons are caramelized; add the butter, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Add the chicken and the hot cooked spaghetti and toss well until the pasta is coated. If the sauce seems dry, slowly add more of the pasta water until it is to your desired consistency. Lastly, stir in the toasted Panko, Parmesan, and parsley. Serve immediately.


Serves 10

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1 Marissa { 04.26.16 at 8:43 AM }

It was delicious! Thank you for a great one night in Scottsdale 🙂

2 Lori Vento { 04.26.16 at 8:56 AM }

Hey Linda- your comment above about “well washing” the lemons made me think of a question I have been meaning to ask your expertise on. So much is in the news recently about what fruits and veggies to buy organic and to wash everything extremely well- whatever you buy. How do you handle this or what is the best method you have found to feel your produce is clean? xoxo

3 Linda Hopkins { 04.26.16 at 4:12 PM }

Hi Lori! It’s a great question and I have a great answer for you – from the experts at Cook’s Illustrated. This article will tell you everything you need to know and it is what I do in my kitchen. xoxo http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742

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