I remember the first time I ate at T.G.I. Fridays. I was an awkward teenager, looking for my place in the world and trying to figure out where I fit in. The restaurant was new in my small little town corner of the world and, at the time, I felt it was the epitome of style and good food. This was before I’d travelled around Europe or seen a good amount of America for that matter. I was a little fish in a little pond with only thoughts and dreams of something larger.
I recollect ordering the bruschetta chicken pasta and recall that it was the first time I’d ever eaten (what I thought was) bruschetta – the garlic, tomato, basil adornment that permeated throughout the dish. I discovered much later, and much to my chagrin I must admit, that this delectable topping was not actually bruschetta, but in fact, just a topping for bruschetta. Bruschetta is the toasted and garlic rubbed bread it often sits upon. If you find yourself exclaiming, “Wha? No way, Barbara. It’s that delicious tomato shit,” my friend, much like I was, you are wrong. Seriously, look it up on Wikipedia and then start questioning your existence.
This is the rub that often comes with Americanizing a food. Words, names and preparations often get mixed up. Sometimes this really bothers me as in the case of the oft used word for the main course, the dreaded “Entrée”. Pee-yoo. I want to find the person who started this and smack some sense into him. An entŕee (meaning “to enter”) is the first course in a French meal, what we call appetizer in America, and clearly not the main course.
Other times, however, it doesn’t bother me so much as is the case with bruschetta. The discovery that you can have dozens and dozens of toppings and still call it bruschetta was thrilling for me and the fact that people still call the typical tomato basil topping bruschetta is not overly offensive. So, there you go, T.G.I. Fridays. You may have been a little bit off in your description but I don’t fault you because this meal is still delicious.
I think it’s been many years since I’ve been to T.G.I. Fridays but I still make a version of their famed Bruschetta Chicken Pasta because, well, it’s damn good! Sometimes I add a balsamic drizzle but most often I do not so this version doesn’t have it. Feel free to add a little trickle if you want but be careful not to go overboard – it only takes a dab.
Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 chicken breast & 2 ounces pasta • Weight Watcher Points+: 11
Calories: 409 • Fat: 11g • Carbs: 45g • Fiber: 6g • Protein: 36g
Sugars: 6g • Sodium: 373g • Cholesterol: 72mg
- 3 large tomatoes, seeded
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 pieces chicken breast scaloppini (about 1 pound)*
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup flour
- 6 ounces whole wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti
- 1 ounce shaved parmesan.
*Scaloppini means it is thinly sliced. Your butcher should be able to do this for you or you can do it yourself by cutting through the length of the thick side of breast and carefully slicing the breast in half widthwise.
For the bruschetta topping, rough chop the tomatoes. In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss lightly and set aside.
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat until boiling.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Place the chicken in the skillet and sear about 5 minutes or until it develops a golden brown crust. Turn the pieces over and cook an additional 5 minutes or until you get the same golden brown color. Remove from heat.
Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions (usually 2-3 minutes). Drain and return to the pot. Add ½ the bruschetta topping and toss well. Divide among 4 plates. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and place atop the pasta. Garnish with additional bruschetta topping and shaved parmesan.