Taglierini Alla Chitarra-Easy Weeknight Dinner

Taglierini Alla Chitarra
Simple spaghetti tends to be a go-to, weeknight dinner for most families, and if you are like me, spaghetti in the regular meal rotation starts to get intolerable boring. Spaghetti remains on our rotation because my all people will actually eat it, and any mother knows that is a feat in itself. Years ago, an Arkansas neighbor shared Taglierini Alla Chitarra with us, and this heavenly version of spaghetti has remained a weeknight and a “good-enough-for-company” favorite.

The star of Taglierini Alla Chitarra is thinly sliced pancetta, aka Italian bacon. Pancetta is paper-thin meat in the deli section of your grocery store, sold prepackaged (vacuum-packed) or sliced fresh at the counter. If purchasing at the counter, ask the attendant to slice it as thinly as possible. Prosciutto can be substituted if Pancetta is not available. I do not recommend the prepackaged cubed version of either meat, as the taste/consistency is lacking.

Another note: Pecorino Romano from the deli may only come in portions larger than 3 oz, but you’re actually buying enough for a few meals if you freeze the unused cheese for later.

Taglierini Alla Chitarra

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
7 oz Pancetta, cut into julienne strips (can substitute Prosciutto)
28 oz. can peeled, crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (can substitute 1/8 cup dried)
Ground black pepper
3 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (can substitute regular Romano)
Fresh Parmesan cheese wedge (topping)
Pasta-Barilla Spaghetti alla Chitarra or Angel Hair
Large saucepan with top

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and Pancetta and brown for 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, pepper and Pecorino. Simmer, covered, over very low heat for one hour.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Serve red sauce mixture over cooked pasta and sprinkle with *grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Freeze any leftovers you do not use.

*The Microplane Zester is the perfect kitchen tool for finely grated hard cheeses. Place on table for individual use.
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Taglierini Alla Chitarra
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Seasoned Chicken Wraps

SeasonedChickenWraps
Many years ago when I was a newlywed learning to cook, and Pampered Chef parties were all the rage, a friend shared these Seasoned Chicken Wraps with me, and we’ve been eating them ever since!  It was so long ago, I cannot remember who gave this to me, but I believe the original recipe was from Pampered Chef.  The following version is a bit different from the original, so you feel free to tweak the seasonings to your family’s taste as well!

Seasoned Chicken Wraps

Preheat oven to 375°.

1 pkg Crescent rolls (8 count)
2-3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 box chicken-flavored Stove Top stuffing mix
3 T. melted butter, divided
Salt/Pepper to taste

First, boil the chicken breasts.  For quick meal prep, cook these ahead of time. To get tender, flavorful boiled chicken, bring a large pot of water with a stalk of celery and 1/2 an onion to a rolling boil.  Add chicken breasts and boil uncovered 12 minutes.  Turn heat off, cover, and allow to sit for one hour.  Or boil it plain using same instructions, just without celery and onion.

Shred cooked chicken.  In a mixer, combine chicken, softened cream cheese, 6-8 T. or more (fine crumbs) of Stove Top stuffing mix, 1 T. melted butter, and salt and pepper to taste.  If you feel it needs more flavor for your taste, add desired seasonings now.

Roll crescent dough out and separate into the 8 perforated triangles.  Spoon about 1/2 cup of chicken mixture onto each triangle.
SeasonedChickenWraps2
Roll each triangle starting from the long end.  Brush each wrap with remaining melted butter.  Then, sprinkle each wrap with more Stove Top mix, fine crumbs and some bigger, crunchy pieces.  Transfer wraps to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until crescent rolls are lightly browned.

Serve immediately and enjoy!
SeasonedChickenWraps
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