A family favorite for the ages

Chicken orecchiette, a recipe from Massena's Vino Vidi Vici. Photo courtesy Crista Makdouli/Vino Vidi Vici.

Chicken orecchiette is one of those dishes we love to serve for every reason. It’s a signature entrée that provides guests with a full dining experience each time they order it.

For us, opening a new restaurant in the north country has been a process of both trial and error and slow and steady growth. This dish has illustrated that on many levels. It also has shown the success of what we have worked hard to create in the heart of Massena.

As many permanent menu items begin, it started as a featured special. When Chef Michael Austin first prepared it for us, we knew it was a winner from the very first bite. It had such a unique depth of flavor and captured everything people love about a great pasta dish. The chicken was beautifully marinated and grilled to perfection, and the sauce was perfect — not too heavy and not too light. It is ideal for those times when you’d love the richness of an Alfredo sauce, but don’t want its heavy feel.

The chiffonade of fresh spinach atop the chicken is the fun part of this dish that stands out. It may seem like something insignificant when up against stronger ingredients such as sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, but it really does complete the dish.

Fresh spinach has such a unique flavor and texture. The bite and flavor give just a subtle hint of something different. The sundried tomato butter lends a balanced richness that satisfies without overpowering. It’s not a heavy sauce, but the richness and depth of flavors will impress with that in mind. The roasted red peppers and shallots come into play, too, lending a delicious sweetness.

Chicken orecchiette is surely one of our family favorites. We hope it becomes a favorite for your family, too.

[For the recipe and instructions for Vino Vidi Vici’s famous chicken orecchiette, please subscribe or purchase a copy of NNY Living at your local Big M Supermarket, at the Watertown Daily Times, Carthage Tribune or Lowville Journal offices and the Samaritan Medical Center Gift Shop.]

-Crista and Tarek Makdouli own and operate Vino Vidi Vici in Massena, serving upscale casual Italian fare. Visit them at 160 Harte Haven Plaza or online at www.VinoVV.com. Call 769-5050 for delivery or reservations.