Smokey Skillet Noodles with Chicken Thighs & Spinach
A one-pan meal that is chock-full of greens. Use kale, or substitute in cabbage or spinach. Can absolutely be made without chicken if you're looking for a vegetarian-friendly dish.
  • 2-4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika (or 2.5 teaspoons smoked paprika plus 0.5 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 8 oz. angel hair or spaghetti
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4-8 oil-packed anchovy fillets (or 2 tablespoons soy sauce if vegetarian)
  • 3/4 small can tomato paste (about 4 oz)
  • 1 bunch kale or 5-8oz spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olives or capers (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in top third.
  2. Dry chicken and rub both sides with a dash of hot smoked paprika and two teaspoons salt. 
  3. Peel and grate onions and mince garlic and anchovies (or, quicker, mash in a mortar and pestle). Have a blender? Blend them all together - it's worth it! Set aside. 
  4. Heat a 12" oven-proof pan (ideally cast-iron) over medium, then add a healthy glug or two of olive oil.
  5. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook for about 10 minutes until skin is well browned, then transfer to plate.
  6. Meanwhile, break pasta into small pieces (2-3 inches). Do this in a deep pot or high-sided bowl with your hands, then transfer pasta to hot skillet and toast, turning often, until golden brown. 
  7. Remove pasta from skillet and add onion, garlic, and anchovy mixture. Add tomato paste and more oil as needed and turn heat down to low.
  8. Cook sauce for about 10-15 minutes, until darkened and fragrant. While sauce is cooking, rip leaves off kale and tear into pieces. 
  9. Add the rest of your hot smoked paprika to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds, then squeeze in half a lemon (or a glug of white wine, if you're out of lemon) into the pan to deglaze. (Deglazing = scraping up good brown bits on bottom of pan. 
  10. Add two cups of water and bring to simmer over medium heat. Add handfuls of kale and wilt for about 2 minutes (kale will reduce in size dramatically).
  11. Add capers or olives to the mix, then stir in the toasted pasta. If using, put chicken (skin up) on top, patting down to an even layer. If the liquid in the pan doesn't reach the top of the pasta, add a bit more water.
  12. Place skillet in oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until chicken has reached safe temp of 160F (it will continue to cook to 165F when removed from oven). 
  13. Rest for 10 min, then serve with more lemon.