Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anna Sultana's Tuscan Sun Chicken

Yes, my Ma was Maltese.
No, she never went to Tuscany.
But, to me, this recipe will always be Ma's Tuscan Sun Chicken recipe.

Sometimes recipe names are pretty straightforward.
Take peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
What you said is what you get.

Then there are recipes that have a little story that only means something to the cook.
For example, in The Sopranos Family Cookbook Artie Bucco has a chapter Mia Cucina.
In it Artie sometimes explained how he got his inspirations.
Artie's recipe for Quail Sinatra-Style, in Mia Cucina, was inspired by Artie listening to Frank Sinatra singing the song Luck be a Lady.
And there's nothing wrong with that.

As I said last January, Ma and I used to exchange recipes, especially during this time of the year, what with all the holiday recipes floating around.
In 2003 Ma had sent me a package of recipes she'd clipped from newspapers, such as the New York Daily News.
A few of them were chicken recipes.
High cholesterol runs in the family.
She wasn't going to send me a recipe for a standing rib roast.

After the package came, Paul and I went to see the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.
It's a movie about Frances, a writer who gets divorced.
She joins a gay bus tour in Italy.
During a stop Frances notices a poster for a villa for sale in Cortona. 
A little further on, the bus stops to allow a flock of sheep to cross the road. 
Frances realizes that they've stopped in front of the villa that she had seen for sale.
She believes it is a sign. 

Frances goes to meet the owner.
While there, a bird shits on Frances.
The owner believes it is a sign. 
She agrees to let Frances buy her broken down villa in beautiful Tuscany.
Your basic rom-com.

Okay… back to the recipes that Ma had sent me.
The day after Paul and I saw the movie, I cooked this chicken recipe.
While we ate it, we talked about Under the Tuscan Sun.
Whenever we eat Tuscan Sun Chicken, we remember the movie.
And there's nothing wrong with that.

                        Tuscan Sun Chicken

Serves 2 generously

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
1/2 pound spaghetti, or any favourite pasta
When the pasta is almost ready add
4 cups broccoli florets
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking
In a large saucepan heat over medium-high heat
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Cook 7 minutes on each side or until done (170ºF). 
Top with
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Remove chicken from the pan.
Cover to keep warm.

Add to the large saucepan
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
1/4 cup chicken broth
Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
cooked pasta and broccoli
Toss gently and place on heated platter.
Top with 
the cooked chicken
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Serve with a green salad.
Wine is nice, too.

Lindsay Duncan, as the character Katherine, had a few memorable lines in Under the Tuscan Sun.  One of my favourites:
Regrets are a waste of time. They're the past crippling you in the present.

Don't have regrets.
Have Tuscan Sun Chicken.


  1. I am company shy, but trying this receipe this weekend for guests. I will try to be brave like Frances. This is terrifying!😫

    1. Hi! Hope you had a lovely time and that you all enjoyed the dinner.
      Be brave like Frances! And remember, your friends, as the friends in 'Bridget Jones' Diary', love you just the way you are.
      Happy Holidays and all the best in 2020!


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