Chicken piccata may sound fussy, but it's actually a super-quick, hearty meal that's perfect for busy weeknights. Plus, its lemony flavor and light, caper-studded sauce are sure to please everyone at the table.
5 Quick-Cooking Tips for Chicken Piccata
- Buy thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets. Most big grocery stores sell pre-packaged chicken breast cutlets. If you can, try to find ones that are cut to an even ¼ to ½-inch thickness, then skip step 2 in the recipe instructions and dredge and fry them as they are.
- Fill your pasta pot with hot water. This might seem obvious, but it is 100% OK to start with hot tap water when you need it to come to a boil before cooking something, whether it's pasta, potatoes, veggies, or anything else. This simple change will save you about 5 minutes!
- Choose a quicker-cooking pasta (or other starch). Any type of pasta or grain works great with this chicken piccata recipe. So, if you're trying to shave off extra time, choose a pasta shape that takes just a few minutes to cook, such as angel hair, orzo, or any fresh pasta. Or, go with couscous instead, which requires much less attention.
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- Large pot
- Meat mallet
- Parchment or plastic wrap
- Large knife
- Cutting board
- Large, high-sided skillet
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (or 2 pounds thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup water or chicken broth
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1½ medium lemons)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- If you’re using whole chicken breasts, put them on a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, top with another large piece of plastic or parchment, and use the smooth side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pot to pound them to an even ¼ to ½-inch thickness. Cut each piece of chicken into 2 equal-size cutlets.
- Place a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat.
- Measure the flour into a shallow bowl. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper, then dredge it in the flour and shake off any excess.
- Add the olive oil to the hot skillet, let it heat up for 30 seconds or so, then add half of the chicken and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm, then repeat with the remaining uncooked chicken. When all the chicken is finished browning, transfer it to the plate and cover it tightly with foil.
- Add the wine, chicken broth or water, lemon juice, and capers to the skillet, still over medium-high heat. Let the liquid come to a boil, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and parsley; stir until the butter is completely melted.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss well, then taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Divide the pasta among individual bowls or plates, top each with a piece of chicken, and spoon some sauce over top. Sprinkle with more fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe adapted from this one by Foodie Crush