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I Make Yotam Ottolenghi’s One-Pan Spaghetti and Chicken on the Busiest Weeknights

This is how I shorten my favorite recipe to fit into a busy weeknight. Hint: boneless chicken.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Welcome to Ready. Set. Cookbook!, a column where we share the cookbook recipes we earmark and turn to again and again on the busiest weeknights. These highly craveable recipes will help you get dinner on the table in under an hour.

On busy weeknights, I turn to quick and easy recipes that lean on pantry staples and can be made in one pot. Most of the time that means a simple pasta dish. And lately I’ve been particularly smitten with Yotam Ottolenghi's one-pan crispy spaghetti and chicken from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. True to Ottolenghi’s style but slimmed down and simplified, this recipe uses smart techniques to coax so much flavor from just a handful of ingredients.

My Smart Weeknight Trick: Use Boneless Chicken Thighs

As written, the recipe takes 1 hour 30 minutes to make, but I’ve made it many times with a smart ingredient swap, and am pleased to tell you that it is possible to make in under an hour. My secret? Swap out bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for boneless chicken thighs.


Since boneless chicken thighs cook relatively quickly, you don’t have to cook them in the oven. This cuts down on cooking time from 30 minutes to just 10 minutes. Just make sure you look for boneless thighs with the skin on for more flavor.

Another Reason To Love This Recipe: It’s Made for Multitaskers

The recipe is laid out to help you multitask. Prep the onion and garlic while the chicken browns and make the breadcrumbs, wipe your countertops, and wash the cutting board, while the chicken and pasta cook. By the time you serve dinner—in under one hour—your kitchen will be spanking clean.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

How To Make Ottolenghi's One-Pan Spaghetti

Recipe Note: The recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs. Use six boneless chicken thighs—skin on or off, up to you—and cut the cooking time by a third to just 10 minutes. I've added tips below for how to make this recipe with boneless chicken and save you a lot of time. This recipe serves four to six.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 6 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in (about 1 pound 9 ounces) (see Recipe Note)

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 9 ounces dried spaghetti, broken into thirds

  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, finely blitzed

  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

  • salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. (If using boneless chicken thighs, you can skip the oven—no need to preheat it.)

2. Put 1 tablespoon of oil into a large, oven-safe sauté pan, for which you have a lid, and place on high heat. Season the chicken with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper and add to the hot oil, skin side down. Let cook for 7 minutes, without turning over, to brown well.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

3. Turn the heat down to medium-high, then add the onion and stir, turning the chicken over. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion has softened and is lightly browned. Add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of thyme, and all the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Arrange the chicken skin side up, add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has reduced.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Add another 1 3/4 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper, then add the spaghetti, stirring to submerge and evenly distribute it. Use tongs to lift the chicken pieces so that they sit on top of the spaghetti, skin side up. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, at which stage all the liquid should have been absorbed.

If You're Using Boneless Chicken

If using boneless chicken thighs, you don’t need to cook them in the oven. Simmer the chicken and pasta on the stovetop for 10 minutes with the lid on, until both are cooked through. In the meantime, turn the oven on to broil on high. You'll need it to brown the breadcrumbs.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

5. After 30 minutes in the oven, remove the pasta pan and reset the oven broiler to high. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mix over the pasta and chicken, drizzle with the remaining oil, and broil for 3–4 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp. Allow to settle for 5 minutes before serving warm, directly from the pan.

If You're Using Boneless Chicken

Even if you don’t bake the chicken and pasta in the oven, do not skip broiling the breadcrumbs. The crisp browned bits are delicious.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Reprinted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love. Copyright © 2021 by Yotam Ottolenghi. Photographs copyright © 2021 Elena Heatherwick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.