Honey-Glazed Grilled Chicken and Penne Salad

My father found this recipe, by Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri, in the weekend Wall St. Journal and together we gave it a go. Dad’s been feeling under the weather recently, so it was nice to have him back in recipe research mode. Like many chef recipes, this one seemed a bit unnecessarily complicated, though the result was excellent. The flavors all worked together beautifully. If I were to make it again, I would probably skip the leeks in the basting sauce, and substitute lime juice for the sherry vinegar. Although when we were making the salad we thought that 3 ounces of penne didn’t quite seem enough, it ended up being just the right amount in proportion to everything else.

Honey-Glazed Grilled Chicken and Penne Salad Recipe



  • 3 ounces of dried penne pasta
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp mixed peppercorns
  • 1 pound bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into long and thin matchsticks (about 1 cup julienned)
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped, roasted and salted almonds
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups of mixed baby lettuces
  • Ground black pepper


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

2 Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, honey, and peppercorns and season with a little salt. Cook until the leeks are soft, 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and set aside.

3 Grill the chicken on high heat for about 1½ minutes per side, or until slightly charred. Reduce the heat and cook for an additional 12 to 16 minutes, basting frequently with the honey-leek glaze, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool; once cool, discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones and shred.

Stovetop Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sear the chicken thighs, skin-side down, until golden-brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Turn the thighs over, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Proceed shredding the chicken as instructed above.

4 Place the vinegar and herbs in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then add the meat, carrots and almonds. To serve, toss with the mixed greens, cooked pasta and some salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Serves 3-4, depending on whether or not this is a main course or a side salad.

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Recipe adapted from the Wall St. Journal, weekend edition, Saturday, June 9, 2007.


  1. Wendy

    Sometimes I enjoy making an “unnecessarily complicated” recipe midweek. And pasta is always a winner in my house!

  2. Candy Schultz

    Definitely a keeper. Thanks.

  3. barbara

    I think this would even be nice in winter.

  4. Maria Glensworth

    That looks absolutely delicious! Might have a go at making something similar soon :)

  5. Tilly

    Amazing…the chicken was good enough just by itself….and the scoring of the thighs is, in my opinion, the best bit because the flavours really get in there….I added a tablespoon of coriander seeds and only half the pepper corns and it was beeeeeeeeeautiful!!!!! Thanx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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