With those winter nights setting in, this Chelsea Winter dish is an absolute must try! I would go as far to say that this is one of the BEST pasta dishes I have ever made. It’s very easy to make and is full of flavour. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs but I also think to save a bit of time you could purchase a hot cooked chicken and break that down. Have a go at making this one night this week – you will not be disappointed.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
250g bacon, chopped into pieces
600–700g boneless and skinless chicken thighs
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
7 big cloves garlic, crushed
300g – 400g brown mushrooms, sliced
½ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon
1½ cups cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1½ tbsp cornflour mixed with ¼ cup milk
2 cups baby spinach (or 1 cup cooked peas)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
cooked fettuccine or spaghetti to serve
Simmer the chicken stock in a small saucepan until reduced right down, so only about ½ cup liquid remains — this could take 10–15 minutes. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Tip the excess fat from the pan (or leave it in to fry the chicken in — I do).
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same frying pan over a high heat then when the pan is hot, add the chicken and leave without turning until browned on one side. Turn and brown the other side, then remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Add the butter, remaining oil and garlic to the same pan and stir over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, wine, thyme and lemon zest, turn up the heat and let the wine bubble rapidly for 30 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
Shred the chicken into chunks and add back to the pan along with the cooked bacon, reduced chicken stock, cream, Parmesan and cornflour mixture. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Add the spinach and cook for another couple of minutes until just wilted. Season to taste with salt, if needed, and pepper, and stir through the parsley and basil.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, in your largest saucepan, according to packet directions (or until al dente).
Toss through the drained pasta, with extra Parmesan and herbs if you like.