Shawarma, is an Arabic term meaning turning with reference to cooking meat on the rotisserie. This meat, either beef or chicken, is sliced thinly and served in warm pita like wrap, then topped with hummus or cucumbers. Shawarma is most often rubbed with warming spices, not hot – but earthy.
I thought it would be fun to rub chicken with similar spices and cook it in an iron skillet and toss it with pasta for similar flavors, but a very different texture. Cubing chicken is a relatively simple task and if you have dried spices on hand, this dish is quite a snap to serve during the week.
Turmeric is very popular these days with all its health benefits that have been reported and you can find it at any grocery store. Also, it is the spice that gives foods its unique deep orangy hue. It’s flavor is hard to recognize when it is used with paprika, cardamom and other Eastern spices, but the combination is lovely and it is something everyone should keep in their pantry.
This Chicken Shawarma Rigatoni is both creamy and chewy with its large pasta noodles that capture the sauce in its grooves, and the cubes of saucy chicken. It will definitely bring you back to a time when you were biting into a Shawarma at a local Mediterranean grill.
1 pound chicken thighs, boneless skinless
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound Rigatoni pasta
1/3 cup fresh parsley, rough chopped
1. Dice chicken into cubes, set aside. In a small bowl, combine paprika, turmeric, onion powder, cardamom, salt and pepper. Toss chicken cubes with dried herb mixture, set aside.
2. In a large iron saute pan over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add chicken and saute for 4 minutes or until mostly cooked through.
3. Cook pasta in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Pour chicken broth into chicken mixture and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of pan and add yogurt and cream, stir incorporating the sauce and chicken as you go.
4. Using a slotted spoon or Asian spider, place cooked rigatoni into chicken mixture. Toss to coat rigatoni and sprinkle with parsley. Serve family style, Enjoy!