This is the best pasta sauce that I have ever made, hands down. It’s really unique; I’ve never had anything like it before. Not only is everything cooked in the same pan to give the sauce tons of flavor, but sour cream is added at the end for a creaminess that I can only describe as absolutely dreamy. The chicken itself is moist and its skin is a bit spicy (but not too much) and a bit smokey from the paprika. The pasta gets even better and creamier the next day after the flavors have melded together overnight. We ate the leftovers from this for two nights in a row after I made it, and I wish that we still had more!
Rub your chicken with salt and pepper, then with the combined paprika, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.
Heat some olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or dutch oven and sear each side of your chicken. It’s okay if you need to do 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your skillet, because you need to remove the chicken from the pan onto a separate plate when you’re done anyway.
After removing the chicken, add a bit more olive oil if you need it, then add in the onion and garlic. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes.
Now add in your tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaves, and stir to combine. Nestle your chicken into the sauce, turn the heat to low, and cover. Simmer the sauce and chicken for an hour to two hours, stirring the sauce and flipping the chicken every 20 minutes or so to prevent any burning. I let mine go for an hour and 20 minutes.
When you’re almost ready to eat, cook your pasta according to the package directions, then temper your sour cream by adding a spoonful or two to it. This will prevent your sauce from having chunks of sour cream and instead allow it to become smooth and creamy. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil, then add the sour cream, then the pasta. Stir to combine.
Serve with some crusty bread and eat up!
- 5 large chicken legs or chicken breasts (I used legs)
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt (divided) + more to taste
- 2½ teaspoons black pepper (divided) + more to taste
- 1¼ red pepper flakes, divided
- 2½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 2½ teaspoons dried basil
- 5 tablespoons paprika (Hungarian, sweet, smoked, regular...whatever you have on hand)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced as thinly as possible
- 3 bay leaves
- 38 ounces crushed or diced tomatoes (I used 1 24 ounce can of crushed and 1 14 ounce can of diced)
- 1 4 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 pound pasta, preferably some type of small pasta, such as shells or orecchiette
- ¾ cup sour cream
- Season each piece of chicken with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, then rub each piece of chicken with ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon dried basil, and 1 tablespoon paprika.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high and lay the chicken skin side down carefully in the pan, then sear until they turn a deep golden color, about 5 minutes at the most. Flip the chicken and sear for another 5 minutes on the other side. You can do this in two batches if you need to. When you're done, place the chicken on a separate plate and set aside.
- Add some more olive oil to the pan if needed (I didn't need to), turn the heat down to medium, and add in your onions and garlic. Scrape up all of the browned bits from the pan (flavor!) and saute the onions and garlic until softened and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and add in the bay leaves, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add in the chicken skin side up and cover. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours (I did mine for 1 hour and 20 minutes), making sure to stir the sauce and flip the chicken every 20 minutes or so to prevent burning. About 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, begin to cook your pasta according to package directions (this will give your water enough time to boil and the pasta enough time to cook).
- Take the chicken out, cover with foil (to keep warm), and set aside. Temper the sour cream by adding a spoonful or two of the hot tomato sauce to the sour cream and whisk until smooth. (this will allow you to have a smooth sauce rather than one with chunks of sour cream from the shock of the heat). Skim off as much fat as you can from the sauce, then add in the sour cream and stir until combined, then your cooked pasta. Serve the pasta with the chicken and a piece of crusty bread. Serves 5 with pasta leftovers for the next night!