One of our favorite dishes, El Sipiggio (el see-PEE-jhee-oh) combines rich chicken with fresh, tart lemon, parsley, onion and garlic. Brought together by an abundance of olive oil, it’s perfect for baguette dipping.
2 chicken breasts
1 bunch parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
Zest and juice lemons, set aside. Cut chicken breasts into 1-2 inch sized cubes. In a large saucepan, pour 1/4 cup of olive oil. Sauté chicken until lightly browned. Remove chicken from the oil, add 1/4 cup more and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Return chicken to the oil, garlic and onion mixture and bring to a bubble. Add the lemon zest and juice. Bring back to a light simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss with chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
We make this dish often as it serves as a filling appetizer or main dish. Our guests often inquire about the origin of its name, which came to us one weekend on the porch. After several attempts at naming the dish based on its ingredients, it came to us — Lemon, Chicken, Parsley, Garlic, Onion: LCPGO.
That is, El Sipiggio.
As our wedding date approaches, we’re doing lots of thinking about the menu for the reception. As Steve, his daughter Kate and I drove home from Charlotte, NC, just after this year’s white Christmas, Kate shared with us one of her ideas. We had been thinking not only of heavy hors d’oeuvres, but also of heavier dishes that would feed a crowd and that folks could help themselves to — pastas, of course, came to mind first.
Kate, who has a pitch-perfect sense of flavor, told us about a pasta that she makes often. The recipe is very fluid—but we’ve provided some estimates of the amounts you should use. Pretty much everything is “to taste”—add more or less of any ingredient and see what you like best! We tested the recipe in our kitchen this past weekend, when Kate prepared it for us. It was phenomenal.
1 tomato chopped (about a cup)
2 tbsp. capers
1/2 c. kalamata olives, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. feta
2 tbsp. (about 6 large leaves) basil, chopped
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together, cover and place in a sunny windowsill or other warm place for 15 minutes. Prepare the penne pasta al dente. Drain and toss with the sauce.
This can be made ahead of time, but I wouldn’t suggest more than a couple of days ahead. Prepare the pasta, drain, toss with a bit of oil to coat and store refrigerated, in a zip-top bag. Make the sauce, keeping this refrigerated until ready. Blend both together all at once or a little at a time.