I always think that pasta is is one of the most versatile meals one can make. This is another example of a pasta dish that can you can whip up in minutes... whether you're cooking for one or an army of friends. I actually cooked this pasta dish for over sixty people yesterday among a few other things... and it was a huge hit!
I love the sharpness from the lemon combined with the warmth from the black pepper. The lemon element comes not only from the juice, but also from the zest which contains all the lemony goodness, both fragrant and taste... And for this particular dish, it's best to use coarsely ground rather than finely ground black pepper. It adds to the texture and it's quite nice to bite into tiny chunks of peppercorns with every mouthfuls.
If I were to cook this spaghetti for myself, I would have used chicken thighs because I think dark meat has more flavour, but yesterday I used all breast meat to be on the safe side. And if you've got some around, a handful of chopped parsley is not a bad thing to add at the end. Though there must be some sort of parsley shortage here, because I have been looking for them the past couple of days and they are nowhere to be found!
Cook the spaghetti in a big pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. Whilst waiting for the pasta to cook, in a big skillet, over a medium heat, sauté some chopped onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Then add finely minced garlic and stir for few seconds. Add the diced chicken and cook until browned. Season with salt. Next going in the pan is some quartered mushrooms. They won't take long to cook. I then add lots of coarsely ground black pepper and the zest of a lemon, giving them a good stir. Then add the chopped bell peppers. I add them almost at the end because I don't want to lose their crunch.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it but reserve some of the pasta cooking water. Toss the spaghetti in the what now look like a chicken stir-fry... Add the juice of 1 lemon and some of the pasta cooking water to make everything sleek. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning. I tend to add more lemon juice, because I love lemony things, but that's just personal preference...