Olive oil as needed
4 green onions, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
6 zucchini, cut into 1/3″ slices lengthwise
A generous handful of fresh basil, stems removed and chopped
1 Lb penne pasta
4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
4 chicken thighs brought to room temperature
1 cup of BBQ sauce
3 T apple cider vinegar
2 jalepeños, sliced into rounds
Dilute the BBQ sauce with the vinegar and pour the solution over the chicken thighs in a zip-lock bag. Close the bag and massage to coat the chicken. Allow to marinate while preparing the pasta toppings.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sear the green onions over medium-high heat until soft, 3-4 minutes, then set aside. Adding more olive oil as needed, sear the zucchini strips, covered, on medium-high heat in the cast-iron pan until golden brown, ~2 minutes per side. Snip the cooked zucchini into bite-sized pieces and combine with the cooked green onions and basil in the serving dish for the pasta.
Now would be a good time to boil water for that pasta, by the way.
While the water is coming to a boil, using the same cast iron pan, sear the jalepeño rounds on medium-low heat, making sure to use adequate ventilation. Remove from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, bone-side down, and the BBQ sauce. Cook, covered, turning once, until the juices run clear, 4-5 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, cook and drain (but do not rinse) the pasta, then toss it with the onions, zucchini and basil, adding additional olive oil to coat if it seems dry. Top with the grated cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
The chicken will have a slightly spicy flavor it picked up from the pan (from when you cooked the jalepeños), but serve each thigh with a few more rounds of the spicy green pepper for those who want a little more heat.
Also published on Medium.