A Hearty Pasta Dish

By Mary Frederiksen, AKA The Happy Cooker

(Editor’s Note: This recipe was first published in the September, 1998 issue of the High Desert Wine Explorer Newsletter)

One of the joys of life is to have delicious food prepared for you. This could be by a restaurant chef, by a loved one at home, or while visiting good friends. This recipe was prepared for me when I visited a long time friend and her family in the late 1990s. They welcomed me into their home and we spent the evening dining on her delicious meal and playing Trivial Pursuits around the family table. It was a great night. Every time I prepare this dish, I fondly recall the generosity and hospitality I enjoyed with these dear friends.



½ cup butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 (or more) cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon dry basil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 chicken thighs or 6 chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
Two ten ounce packages frozen chopped spinach
8 ounces linguine
Boiling, salted water
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 small oranges (unpeeled), quartered


In a large baking pan, melt the butter in a 400-degree oven. Stir onion, garlic, basil and red pepper into butter. Place the chicken skin side down in the butter mixture. Turn the chicken to skin side up and bake uncovered until the meat near the bone is no longer pink, about 30-40 minutes.

While the chicken is baking, thaw and heat the spinach in a pan on the stove. Do not overcook it. Just thaw and warm, then drain the spinach and set aside.

Ten minutes before the chicken is done, cook the linguine until it is al dente. Drain.

When the chicken is done, lift it from the pan and stir to scrape the browned bits free. Add the pasta and cheese and toss to mix. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. On each of the dinner plates, place a generous portion of pasta, followed by the warmed spinich. Top the pasta with the chicken and garnish with the orange slice. Before eating, squeeze the juice of the orange over the dish and enjoy!

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