Chicken, Black Olives and Lemon with Spaghetti

March 26, 2013
5 Ratings
Photo by Tom Hirschfeld/
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is a recipe that is ripe for improvisation. If you don't like an ingredient in the list, add your own, although I really like this combination and, importantly, my two children really like the combination minus the red pepper flakes so it makes for a quick and easy dinner. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons defatted pan juices from roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 12 or 16 ounces box spaghetti
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups black olives, I like California black olives for this
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Place a large pot filled with 4 quarts of salted water over high heat on the stovetop.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to come to a boil, place a sauté pan over medium heat. Add a good glug or two of extra virgin olive oil. Add the garlic and let it gently cook until it just begins to turn golden, be careful because browned garlic can be very bitter. Add the red pepper flakes (if using), stir then add the white wine and let the alcohol burn off. Now add the lemon juice, stock and pan juices. Bring them to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Reduce the heat and let the liquid reduce by a third. If the sauce finishes up before you cook the pasta just move it off the heat and when the pasta is close to being finished put it back on the fire.
  3. When the water is at a roiling boil add the spaghetti. Cook according to the directions on the box -- I am guessing 10 minutes or so. Once the pasta is just tender remove a cup of pasta water and reserve it, drain the pasta and immediately add the pasta back to the pan along with the chicken, olives and lemon zest. Season the pasta with salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste and make the necessary adjustments. If it is too dry add a little bit of pasta water. This is the kind of pasta that should have a broth. Toss to combine and once the chicken is hot, add the parsley, toss again, and serve with lots of parmesan.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ashley Taylor
    Ashley Taylor
  • ECMotherwell
  • Babette's sous chef
    Babette's sous chef
  • thirschfeld

5 Reviews

Ashley T. April 2, 2020
Made this tonight and it was fabulous! Came together easily with one big chicken breast and some oldish sauvignon blanc from the fridge. Chicken, pasta (I used angel hair), parm, white wine, and black olives are some of my favorite things independently, so putting them together like this was a treat!
ECMotherwell October 28, 2014
Made this last night, and was really pleased (as was my husband). It's perfect comfort food!
tjm September 24, 2014
This recipe was very easy to pull together on a weeknight. Turned out great.
Babette's S. February 2, 2014
This looks terrific! Although I love all kinds of olives I still have a soft spot for good old Americana black olives, which I've loved since I was a little kid, my late sis and I plunking pitted black olives on each finger and then eating them off our fingers one by one. I bet this quick pasta dish would also be excellent with shrimp or perhaps other shellfish and subbing in vegetable or seafood stock for the chicken stock, maybe even a combo of both pitted black and green olives?
thirschfeld February 2, 2014
My daughters do exactly that, pluck them onto all their fingers and eat them up. You are exactly right, shrimp shellfish all of the above would be excellent.