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Za’atar Grilled Chicken and Pasta is a recipe made with chicken breasts that are marinated in Za’atar seasoning, lemon and olive oil.
I love Mediterranian and Middle Eastern flavors and spices so I’m not sure why it took me so long to try Za’tar. Honestly, it’s been “on my list” but I just haven’t had the opportunity to find it anywhere. That all changed on a recent trip to Atlanta, where our daughter now lives. One morning we all went to an amazing market place and they had every type of spice you can imagine and at really great prices. Although I might have gone a little crazy buying spice, I’m not complaining because I have now discovered Za’atar and it’s perfect in this Grilled Za’atar Chicken and Pasta recipe.
What is Za’atar?
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that is full of thyme, oregano, marjoram, and sumac. The blend is very aromatic and it has a lemony tangy flavor. I was surprised to find out it doesn’t contain lemon because of the high lemon notes in the spice blend mix. It’s actually very similar to oregano and thyme and is used in a lot of Middle Eastern and Arabic dishes.
I used a blend of the Za’atar spices, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil to marinate my chicken breasts for 6 hours. I also used lemon juice, white wine, butter, and Za’atar in my pasta and pea mix. The flavors are bold, but not too strong. Za’atar is now going to be a regular spice in my recipes.
Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta in This Recipe?
Of course, you can use any type of pasta or rice for this recipe. But I prefer Farfalle, or bow tie pasta as it’s sometimes called. Some call it butterfly pasta and actually Farfalle means butterfly in Italian. I prefer to use it because it stands up to the flavors and holds on to the spices in the small crevices. To me, it has a good “tooth feel” which means a good bite…you know you are eating pasta when you bite into it.
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Za’atar Grilled Chicken and Pasta
To Marinate The Chicken
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon
To Make This Recipe
- 1-1/2 tbsp Za'atar spice blend
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 lb. Farfalle pasta
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed at room temperature
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pasta water
- lemon slices and parsley for garnish
To Marinate The Chicken
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and za'atar to a zip-top bag
- Add the chicken breasts, seal the bag and place them in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
To Cook The Chicken
- Grill the chicken on medium heat until it' reaches an internal temperature of 165°. This usually takes 6-7 minutes per side.
- Once the chicken is grilled, transfer it to a plate, cover with foil and let it rest.
To Cook The Pasta
- Prepare the pasta 5 minutes less than the box directions
To Prepare the Full Dish
- While pasta is cooking add the butter, lemon juice and wine to a stove-top skillet and turn the heat to low.
- When the pasta is ready, add the pasta to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high.
- Let the pasta continue to cook for 5 minutes so the juices reduce; add 1/4 cup of pasta water as needed to make sure there is enough liquid.
- Add the frozen peas and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Serve with the chicken.
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