Spaghetti with Chicken in Red Sauce aka Makaronia Me Kokkinisti Kota

Sometimes you just need a hearty and comforting pasta dish, especially in the heart of winter, like my mum's Makaronia Me Kokkinisti Kota. This recipe does the trick with delivering heartiness, with its simple red sauce and juicy tender chicken for added protein.

But there is a little story that also goes with this recipe...every time my mum cooked Makaronia Me Kokkinisti Kota, she would remind me of my grandparents in Greece. Once every 7-8 years (we didn't have the finances to travel overseas much), we would arrive on their doorstep in Greece, and my grandparents would embrace us with open arms, tears in their eyes and a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear. My grandfather would sit us down and feed us immediately this meal – Makaronia Me Kokkinisti Kota – also known as a huge hug on a plate. It was their way of showing their love and welcoming us "home".

So this recipe has a lot of heart and soul in it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do and it brings you the warmth and comfort that my grandparent's hugs brought to me.

When my brother visited them, before my grandfather passed away, he took this photo. As you can see they are eating my grandfather's favourite meal - Makaronada!

Some suggestions:

  • There are two ways you can make this sauce: The first is to add a simple Tomato-Based Sauce (for example Barilla has a delicious Napoletana Sauce) or you can use a can of crushed tomatoes. If you use the canned tomatoes, I would suggest adding a grated onion to the recipe at the time you add the garlic plus 1/2 teaspoon of oregano towards the end.

  • I have chosen to used Maryland pieces of chicken, however, you can use chicken thigh cutlets and drumsticks or even chicken wings instead. I would suggest using pieces that are not filleted but have a bone as this adds to the flavour. Plus, there is nothing better than eating a juicy and saucy piece of chicken with your hands. It's a little messy but so delicious and so Greek!

  • I would suggest adding extra pieces of chicken so you have leftovers for the next day. Meals that are cooked in tomato-based sauces taste even better the next day. Trust me on this one.

  • If you need to add extra chicken stock to cover the chicken, then do so. Depending on what pieces of chicken you choose to cook can determine how much stock is needed to cover the chicken so it cooks well.

  • I have also created this video to show you how simple it actually is to make. All that is needed is one pot to cook the chicken and one pot to boil the pasta!

And now it’s time to start cooking! As always, if you make any of my recipes, I would love to hear your feedback. I am available here via email or you can catch me daily on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to save it on your Pinterest board as well! I have a board named CreateCookShare that you can follow and save. Can’t wait to hear from you.

Be Well, Margaret x

Serves 4-5

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

4 chicken Maryland pieces (or 4 thigh cutlets + 4 drumsticks)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

650ml chicken broth or stock (add more if needed)

1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce

4 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground cinnamon

3 bay leaves

Sea salt and Pepper

1 packet Spaghetti (optional to use gluten-free or traditional spaghetti)

1. Add to a wide base pot the extra virgin olive oil. Season generously the chicken and place the skin side down first. Place over high heat and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic to the pot and then turn the chicken over to cook the underside until golden as well.

2. Add the chicken stock, Napoletana sauce, tomato paste, cinnamon, and bay leaves.

3. Making sure most of the chicken is submerged in the sauce, bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Then for an additional 10 minutes, uncover, increase heat to high and boil to thicken the sauce. Once cooked, turn off heat and place lid onto pot until ready to serve.

4. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to packet instructions and to your liking. When pasta is cooked, drain and serve onto plates. Top with plenty of parmesan cheese or for a more authentic flavour, add Greek “parmesan” called Mizithra.

5. Place the chicken pieces over the pasta with plenty of sauce and serve immediately.

Optional: sprinkle parsley to garnish

#chicken #glutenfreerecipes #pasta #heartymeals #simplerecipes #makaronia #kotakokkinisti

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