Monday, April 4, 2011

Pollo Caprese


Pollo Caprese is one of my favorite dishes at Macaroni Grill. To keep myself from going there all the time, I found a copycat recipe (and then forgot about it for several months). On Saturday I was really in the mood for this, so I cooked it and ate it on my good china just because I could. :) Disclaimer: This picture isn't totally accurate. I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, so I improvised and made sort of a poor man's version. It's better with the real ingredients, though!

Pollo Caprese
Serves 2. I don't remember where I got this, but I've edited the instructions anyway.

For chicken:
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

For pasta:
1 tsp chopped garlic
5 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp fresh basil, julienned
6 oz. pomodorina sauce (can substitute good spaghetti sauce)
8 oz. capellini or angel hair pasta
Sea salt and pepper

For garnish:
8 pieces fresh mozzarella, quartered
6 basil leaves for garnish
½ cup fresh arugula
½ cup lemon olive oil*
½ one lemon

1. Boil the pasta.

2. While pasta is cooking, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and put them on a grill (if you don't have an outdoor grill, a George Foreman will work too). Grill evenly on both sides to an internal temperature of 165 F. The original recipe said 3 minutes per side, but my chicken took a LOT longer. I'm grill-challenged.

3. When the chicken is half done, sauté olive oil and garlic in a heated sauté pan until golden brown. Add grape tomatoes to the pan and cook for one minute until tomatoes start to soften, then add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and basil. Finally, add pomodorina sauce.

4. By now the pasta should be ready. Add pasta to the pan and toss ingredients until well incorporated.

5. Plate the pasta and tomatoes to one side and garnish with quartered mozzarella and basil leaves. Pile arugula in a corner, and place the chicken breasts across from the pasta. Ladle the lemon olive oil lightly over the chicken and arugula. (I like the arugula right on top of the chicken!)

This would be great to make for a special occasion or romantic dinner. It's not as complicated as it sounds! I bet it's a piece of cake if you have someone to watch the grill while you work at the stove.

* = You can buy lemon olive oil at specialty stores, or make it yourself. There are several methods, but I just bought a regular bottle of olive oil and zested a lemon into it (thanks to my friend Stacy for that suggestion :)). It adds an extra zing. I want to use it in more recipes.


  1. I am so glad you posted this recipe - I meant to ask you for it on Sunday. I'm looking forward to trying it :)

  2. I feel like the macaroni grill version has a squeeze of lemon on the chicken. But I cant wait to try this recipe!

  3. This was excellent, but wondered if you meant 1/2 cup olive oil? Seemed like a lot to me. It was delicious, but I think you could easily cut the amount of oil in half and still have plenty of sauce. Thanks for the recipe, it's now on my favorites page.