Chicken Piccata – Because lemon is a VERY good thing

Pretty much my whole life I assumed that the “piccata” part of chicken piccata had to do with the lemon flavor. Turns out, piccata is the method of preparation of the dish and has nothing to do with the lemony goodness we’ve all come to love from that name. Piccata simply means preparing a meat by slicing it and then serving it with a sauce. Well, okay.

Traditionally piccata was made with veal, but since we here in the US love to Americanize everything, chicken piccata has become the most common form of the dish.

Regardless of what you call it or what it historically is, I love chicken piccata. Really, I love all lemony pasta dishes whether they have meat or not. One of my favorites is the Lemony Linguine with Sausage that I discovered earlier this year. Combine any form of pasta with some sort of lemon sauce and I’m in!

The buttery finish to chicken piccata has always steered me away from it, thinking that lightening it would result in a subpar dish. Boy, was I wrong. doing away with the addition of butter at the end not only lightened the dish but added a brightness that the butter was hiding before. This is an intense lemon dish.

Because I needed some  veg in mine, I reduced the amount of side serving pasta and mixed it with some sautéed sliced zucchini to round the meal. Despite her love for all things lemon, the weeone was not a particular fan of this one (although she’s had it before and loved it – kids and their changing tastebuds!).

For me – this was a hit and will be repeated….perhaps often!

As a side note, I asked my wine-loving friends, the Toisters (who write Share the Bottle), for their recommendation of a white wine that was not so expensive, but good to cook with and then to enjoy while eating the finished meal. Their recommendation for this one was Ferrari-Carano’s Fume Blanc. A very good choice, indeed!


Chicken Piccata - Because lemon is a good thing
Nutritional Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 chicken breast, ¾ cup pasta, 2 tablespoons sauce
  • Calories: 443
  • Fat: 9.1g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9g
  • Unsaturated fat: 5.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.7
  • Sugar: 1.9g
  • Sodium: 247.3mg
  • Fiber: 6.5g
  • Protein: 46.6g
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This lightened version of chicken piccata packs all of the flavor without all of the fat and calories.
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ cup whole wheat, all-purpose flour
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups hot cooked whole wheat spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Now What?
  1. Pound the chicken breast (while wrapped in plastic or wax paper) with a meat mallet until they are about ½ inch thick. Dredge each through the flour, coating on each side.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and sautee the zucchini for 3-4 minute or until starting to brown. Set zucchini aside.
  3. Add the butter and olive to the pan then add the chicken, cooking about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove each chicken breast as it is done and keep in warm (a warm oven helps).
  4. In the same pan, add the white wine, lemon juice, capers and garlic to the pan. Scrape loose any browned bits that have stuck to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in salt and pepper
  5. Serve chicken breast over ¾ cup of pasta and add about 2 tablespoons of sauce and a sprinkling of parsley to each plate.


  1. Jeanette
    October 18, 2012

    Love how you lightened up this classic and served it with whole grain pasta – no need to give up a favorite dish!

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