This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, March 18, 2004.

Two chicken recipes

Chicken Tetraspeedy

Inspired by the old-fashioned Italian-American chicken Tetrazzini, this simple version skips oven-baking in favor of a simple, quick cheese sauce for leftover chicken bits over pasta.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

One-quarter to one-half of a leftover roast or grilled chicken
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion
1/2 green bell pepper
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
Black pepper
4 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup grated cheeses (see below)


1. Start a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Pull the chicken meat off the bones and slice or shred it into bite-size pieces. Chop the onion coarsely; seed the green pepper and cut it into small dice, and mince the garlic fine.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet or saute pan and cook the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic until the vegetables start to soften. Add the chicken pieces and 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and keep warm at a very low simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but watch salt, as the broth may be salty and the cheeses will add more.

3. Grate your choice of cheeses - some quality Parmesan or Romano, certainly, and just about anything else that meets your fancy. Gruyere would be fine; I used a more obscure Northern Italian item called Spezia alla Tartufo, a mild, creamy white cheese dotted with black truffles with cinnamon dusted on the rind. These lovely aromatics yielded a spectacular dish, but it's not really necessary to seek out this rare cheese to make it.

4. Put the spaghetti in the boiling salted water and cook until al dente according to package directions, typically 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Make a simple veloute sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When it's hot, put in the flour all at once, stirring quickly so it incorporates the melted butter; stir until it's spoon but watch the heat, lifting the pan off heat briefly if necessary to keep it from scorching or turning more than very light brown. Add the remaining broth, a little at a time, stirring until the sauce is smooth. Once all the liquid is mixed in, bring just to the boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Add the grated cheeses and stir until they melt. Then add the chicken and onion-garlic-pepper mix (after draining off or evaporating any remaining liquid). As soon as the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the sauce. Serve immediately.

WINE MATCH: Either a fruity and acidic red or a reasonably rich white would do. I chose a light, fruity Chianti, La Lastra 2001 Chianti Colli Senesi.

Chicken Oreganata

I used a package of Eberly's chicken thighs for this quick recipe, but any chicken parts or combination will do. A remarkably simple yet flavorful dinner dish, it involves minimal setup and finishes in the oven while you do other things.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

Four to six bone-in chicken thighs or your choice of chicken parts
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 or 2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil


1. About two hours before dinner, squeeze the lemon, discarding seeds, and mince the garlic fine. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the oregano, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice plus salt and pepper to your taste, mixing everything together until the chicken pieces are well coated. Leave to marinate for an hour or so.

2. Preheat your oven to 450F (230C). Put the chicken pieces with any remaining marinade (there shouldn't be much liquid) skin-side up in a lightly greased oven pan or casserole.

3. Roast for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is golden-brown and crunchy.

WINE MATCH: An acidic Italian red, from a modest Chianti or Montepulciano d'Abruzzo to a fancy Brunello or Vino Nobile would be perfect, but it also worked very well with a somewhat upscale California red, the full, ripe, fruity and oak-tinged Cosentino 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.