This recipe is an homage to the pasta recipes that show up on food magazine covers every spring. You know the ones: They feature a bowl of pasta flecked with herbs and golden chicken—and smiling, painfully chic people gathered around a picnic table on a hillside, all bathed in dappled sunlight. It makes you want to immediately pack a bag and buy a ridiculously expensive last-minute ticket to Tuscany. I’m here to remind you of a few key points: (a) Plan your trips more deliberately than that; (b) You are equally as stunning as those people; and (c) This recipe is a mini vacation anytime you need it.
Julienne the zucchini with the spiralizer. Place the noodles in a colander and toss them with the salt until the strands are lightly coated. Set the colander in the sink to drain while you prep the other ingredients.
Pound the chicken to ½-inch thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap with the smooth side of the meat hammer, then slice it crosswise into strips. Warm the olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, 2–3 minutes. Add the chicken, sprinkle it with the salt and pepper, then toss to coat it in the oil. Spread the chicken in a single layer and let it cook undisturbed, 2–3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, separating the pieces and cook for an additional 2–3 minutes on the other side. Continue to flip and cook the chicken until it’s browned and sizzling on most sides, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Thinly slice the scallions, mince the mint leaves, and coarsely chop the pistachios. Add everything to a bowl with the lemon juice, mix with a fork, and place nearby because the next part goes quickly.
Place the olive oil in a small bowl. Peel and crush the garlic, then add it to the bowl with the oil. Add the cumin and pepper to the bowl, mix with a fork, and set it nearby. Rinse the zucchini noodles under running water, drain them well, and squeeze them in a clean dish towel to remove excess water. Return the skillet you used for the chicken to the stove and reheat it over medium-high heat, 2–3 minutes. Place the prepared zucchini noodles in the dry pan and sauté them until just tender, 2–3 minutes. Push the noodles to the side of the pan, and reduce the heat to medium low. Add the garlic oil to the pan and cook for 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Push the zucchini noodles into the oil and stir gently until they’re coated. Turn off the heat and add the chicken to the noodles, along with the mint-pistachio mixture. Toss to combine.
Divide the pasta among individual bowls and arm everyone with a big spoon to twirl the strands.
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