Why do most artichoke hearts come drowned in some salty marinade, olive oil and sun dried tomatoes – or the ultimate horror in “Buffalo Wing” flavor.  I actually found that ‘flavor’ of artichoke heart at the grocery today. (YUK!3)

I like my artichoke hearts unmolested, natural just the way they are. I find that if they haven’t been marinating in oil – they keep firm and cook a lot better, and you get just the taste of the artichoke in your dish. Natural artichoke hearts capture the true essence of the garden fresh artichoke and add fantastic natural color and flavor to any dish.

Tonight’s Friday night dish is zesty citrus flavor bomb called Lemongrass Citrus Chicken and Artichoke Hearts. It comes together really quickly. It’s strong flavors work nicely when served over a complimentary soft bed of orzo pasta. What could be better for Friday night meal? They don’t come much easier or flavorful than this recipe.

Lemongrass Citrus Chicken with Orzo Pasta

Lemongrass Citrus Chicken and Artichoke Hearts

Ingredients

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
– 1 stalk finely diced lemongrass
– 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken meat, large dice
– 1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts (unmolested, natural – no flavorings, please)
– 2/3 cup dry white wine
– 1/3 cup water
– 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 1/2 cup lightly packed thinly sliced basil leaves
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– 2/3 cup orzo pasta

Directions

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add onion, lemongrass and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring rarely, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, water, and juice and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Cook until alcohol smell is cooked off and sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in basil and lemon.

Boil water for the pasta – and cook the pasta for 7-9 minutes, then drain. Toss the orzo in a bowl with a little olive oil and basil. Plate up a nice serving and serve the lemony chicken on top. For an extra zing – sprinkle fresh lemon zest over the plate and hit with a single turn of the salt grinder before serving.