Recipe: Greek Chicken Pasta with Olives and Feta

There's more to this pasta dish than just chicken, olives, and feta. There are some artichoke hearts, fresh oregano, and a lemon vinaigrette — a whole mess of salty, tangy flavors...

The idea for this recipe started with a container of olives left over from a cocktail party. We were imagining a pasta that mimicked a greek salad, so we shopped for some feta cheese and a few fresh (pitted) olives to supplement the ones we had (which we had to pit- whew).

For our chicken, we roasted skin-on, bone-in breasts, which are cheaper than skinless, boneless breasts and stay moist in the oven. We rubbed them with a paste of oregano, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil and simply shredded the meat once it was cooked.

At first, the amount of lemon vinaigrette we made seemed like too much, but the hot pasta absorbed it easily, and it provided a great burst of flavor. Since we just ate the leftovers for lunch, we can attest to the fact that this pasta is great cold, too.

Greek Chicken Pasta with Olives and Feta
serves six

For the chicken:
2 medium skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh oregano (see this post on converting to dried oregano)
2 small (or one large) cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

For the vinaigrette:
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

For the pasta:
1 pound rotini or other pasta
12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, halved or quartered into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups pitted olives (kalamata or any mediterranean mix)
8 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh oregano
handful of chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pat dry the chicken breasts and lay them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Mix the remaining ingredients together to form a paste, and rub it over both chicken breasts, making sure to get some of the mixture underneath the skin and in any folds of the meat. Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper.

Roast chicken for about 25 minutes, until cooked through (the skin does not need to brown). Remove and allow to cool slightly, then peel back the skin, remove the meat, and shred it into bite-sized chunks. Try to scrape as much of the seasonings as possible off of the skin and bones, so you can add it to the pasta along with the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, make the vinaigrette. Mix the lemon juice with the salt and pepper, then slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water. While it's cooking, combine the artichoke hearts, olives, and shredded chicken (plus any juices and spices on the cutting board) in a large bowl. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the bowl. Pour over the vinaigrette, then add the cubes of feta cheese. Mix everything together, then sprinkle in the extra oregano and parsley, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Related: Harvest Spotlight: Local Goat Feta Cheese

(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)

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