Cut up the chicken
Remove the stems from the cilantro, and set aside
Start heating up a large nonstick or well seasoned cast iron pan and medium to medium high heat: enough to brown the chicken quickly.
Note: Olive Oil has a notoriously low smoke point To make sure it doesn’t smoke and lose all it’s wonderful flavor and nutrients is a delicate task. You can always turn heat up, but it’s hard to get a pan to cool down once it’s smoking, so be cautious.
While the pan is heating, fill a large 6qt pot with water and set it boiling.
While the pan and water are heating up, mix together about 3 tsp salt with a few cups of flour, just enough it doesn’t run out as you’re coating the chicken. Begin adding the sliced chicken to the flour mixture.
By now the pan will be getting hot, so add enough olive oil to coat the bottom well. Keep the bottle handy for later on, as each batch of the chicken will absorb some of the oil.
Add the garlic to the pan, stirringly quickly to prevent burning. Begin to add the chicken immediately afterwards. Use a spatula to flip the chicken over to check browness on either side. When the first batch is sufficiently crispy, place on a plate with a paper or cloth towel over, to absorb the extra oil. Put the plate in an oven set to 190F to keep it warm.
Finish the rest of the chicken in aforementioned manner, getting rid of the garlic pieces as they begin to brown.
By now the water should be close to boiling. Add a few pinches of salt, and add all the pasta. Cook until tender, but not crunchy, ‘al dente’ as it is said.
Once the pasta is done boiling, drain and wash it well with hot water in a colander. Add the chicken, pasta, pesto, crushed red pepper flakes, parmesan, and salt to taste to a large bowl and mix until coated with the pesto and pepper. Garnish with the cilantro and lemon juice. Serve hot.
This easy dish is perfect for a casual get-together with friends. Inspired by arroz con pollo, it is hearty with satisfying complexity. Cumin, saffron, and oregano season rich chicken thighs and nutty farro as the dish simmers.