Food Friday: Chicken Scarpariello Pasta (aka Scarp)
Based on the reactions to last week's Food Friday about Detroit Style Pizza, I now know that most people would prefer if I just wrote about food. Perhaps one day I will take a swing at ripping off Bon Appetit and Food Network Recipes and tacking on some fake story and 23 different banner ads, but I got better things to do at the moment.
Today I'm writing about Chicken Scarpariello. More specifically my take on it - Chicken Scarpariello Pasta. It translates to "Shoemaker's Chicken" which is about as unappetizing of a meal description as it gets. I call it Scarp, mainly because it's nearly a year into the pandemic and I'd be lying if I didn't say my wife and I have probably begun speaking in a different dialect of English all together at this point. Also it's easier to simply type "Scarp" in this post, as I mentioned earlier, I have better things to do at this moment.
I first really got into Scarp right before the pandemic hit. My dad actually started talking about some restaurant that made it and how he loved it, then I visited them in South Carolina and had a version of it with pasta and I loved it.
Scarp is a different type of Italian dish. The sauce is not tomato based, instead it's vinegar based sauce. In many ways it's the Italian version of Eastern North Carolina BBQ. Most Scarp usually has a chicken thighs, a mixture of bell peppers, pickled peppers and onions, as well as sausage. It's traditionally served over potatoes but I prefer it over pasta.
I've tried a few recipes for Scarp over the last year. NYTimes Cooking has Rao's version, Serious Eats has a good one as well. I use the Bon Appetit version as my base recipe and will reference it going forward.
- Forget the potatoes. Potatoes are all good and fine, but not today. I have no time for their bullshit.
- Instead of potatoes get 1lb of pasta. I like penne but anything in the penne family works fin - even its crazy uncle, fusilli.
- Instead of 6 chicken thighs go down to 4. Increase to a pound of sausage. I like hot sausage but you can use sweet sausage or a mix.
- Don't worry about grating the garlic if that stresses you out. Grating sucks. A fine mince will do just fine. Add a little more garlic if you want. You earned it.
- I add crushed red pepper to this because I like spicy food and I like spicy with vinegar. I usually add it in with the vinegar. If you don't like spicy food then leave it out, you monster.
- You can totally ignore most of Step 1 since this is The Potato Step. But what you should do here is still preheat the oven to 450 and also put up a pot of water for you pasta. Add salt. If it boils early turn it down. Just whatever you do, don't watch it.
- In Step 4 if using crushed red pepper flakes add it in with the vinegar. Last chance to be hero.
- In Step 4, I like to put some of the liquid from the jar of peppers into the sauce as well. Maybe a tablespoon or so.
- When you return the sausages to the pan in Step 4, or even a little before make sure the pot of water is boiling and add your pasta to the pot. Cook til al dente. If you like your pasta overcooked go here, copy the number it spits back to you and email that number to me. I will promptly block you from reading this website.
- In Step 5, once again forget about the potatoes. They'll still be good in a week.
- In Step 5 remove the sausages from the pan and slice them into 1 inch bite size pieces, diagonally if you want to get fancy. then add them back in.
- In Step 5 take the chicken out of the pan. Choose your own adventure at this point. You can eat the chicken seperately. I usually do this because my wife does not like chicken thighs, and I hold absolutely no grudge against her whatsoever for this. None. If you have a wife who appreciates the best part of the bird, then you can cut it up and throw it back into the pan to be mixed up with the pasta.
- In Step 5, drain the pasta when it's done put it into a big bowl or even back in the pot and pour in the Scarp from the pan. Give it a good mix. You can add the Parsley in on this step if you want to wait. If you accidentally got curly parsley instead of Italian parsley from Instacart, I understand how upset you are right now. I've been there. Try to let it go. It's just not worth going to jail for.
Thats it! It makes a great Sunday pasta that you can eat for leftovers during the week. Serve it with some bread, play around with the recipe. Embrace the Scarp!