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Bow Ties with Chicken, Watercress, and Walnuts

Chicken and walnuts always taste great together. Here the combination is enhanced by the peppery bite of watercress.

Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pound multicolored or plain bow ties
  • 1 bunch watercress (about 5 ounces), large stems removed


  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, toast the walnuts over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan and chop.
  2. In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken breasts with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook the breasts until browned and just done, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting the meat into chunks.
  3. In a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken.
  4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the bow ties until just done, about 15 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it with the walnuts, the chicken-and-vinaigrette mixture, and the watercress. Serve warm.

Suggested Pairing

This simple, flexible dish can go with either a red or a white wine. For a red, try a Beaujolais-Villages from France. If you prefer a white wine, look for something equally simple and fruity, such as an Albariño from Spain.

Photo © Corey Hendrickson Published March 2011

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