Fra diavolo is loosely translated as “brother devil,” or devilish brother pasta, and it’s not a traditional Italy manner of serving pasta dishes. It’s something American-Italians made up from what I gather.
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All skillet pasta dishes like this one are very easy to assemble and plate using pre-grilled chicken, pre-made sauce, pre-cooked pasta from the fridge *, and prepped veg.
But, if you don’t have time to prep the night before, or the morning of, you can still make this dish on the fly when you get home in under an hour (assuming you’re giving the chicken 30 mins on the counter to come up to temp for more even cooking).
Boil the pasta water while the oven heats up, and start slicing up the vegetables. Roast the pillared or butterflied chicken in the middle of a sheet pan surrounded by vegetables coated in oil and red pepper flakes (this deepens the heat of the flakes and spices up the veg) at 400 degrees for 10-12 mins. Salt the boiling water well, and drop the pasta in. In a small sauce pot, heat up the sauce or med-high heat.
Flip the chicken at the halfway point of roasting. Heat up a big skillet and get it hot enough to add oil to it. Cook the pasta to almost al dente. The pasta finishes it cook in a sauce pan with the veg + sauce over a high heat. Pull the sheet pan out when the chicken reads 165 degrees with a thermometer.
Let the chicken rest off the sheet pan up to ten minutes before slicing. When the sauce and pasta are finished, add 2 tbsp of oil to the heated skillet and add the roasted veg to soften a bit more, followed by the pasta for a minute or two. Add some pasta sauce, and heat the whole dish through. Add a bit of the pasta water to thicken up the sauce in the last minute of cooking.
Plate the pasta into a bowl plate and top with slices of the chicken, some chopped green onions, and a smattering of a grated parm. If too many red pepper flakes were used, use pinch of toasted breadcrumbs can be snowcap the pasta to sop up a bit of the stinging.
Chicken Penne Fra Diavolo:
2C dry Penne noodles
6C heavily Salted boiling water
2 large seasoned Chicken Breasts, butterflied or pillard
1 1/2C Pasta Sauce of choice (I use a jar sauce when pressed for time)
4C large cuts of Red & Orange Peppers + Broccoli florets
A pinch Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
1 -2 Green Onions (finely chop stems only)
This will make enough to serve 4 hungry people comfortably.
Topping Ideas: Can be fresh cracked black pepper (a smidge – you will already have spicy veg and flakes in the dish) and fresh shavings of parmesan or any other cheese of your choosing, and a small sprinkling of breadcrumbs to compliment the sting of the red pepper flakes.
* Often I will cook a pot of pasta the night before as I cook another meal that night, and lay the noodles out across a plate or a sheet pan in a thin layer to rapid cool it all down before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. That pasta will get dropped in a pot of slightly salted boiling water for up to a minute to heat through before transferring it to another cooking vessel like a skillet or a casserole dish. It really does speed meals up.