CREAMY CHICKEN, TOMATO & SPINACH PASTA
Fresh cherry tomatoes are like little flavour bombs, adding bursts of sweetness and acidity to pasta dishes. An unusual ingredient in this colourful dish is a tub of cream cheese, which produces a rich, silky sauce perfect for coating our Pasta Grandé Gnocchi.
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Serves: 4 - 6
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
- 1 x 300 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- 4 skinless, deboned chicken breasts, sliced
- ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock (or water)
- 150 g baby spinach leaves
- 1 x 230 g tub medium-fat cream cheese
- the juice of half a lemon
- freshly ground black pepper
- 500 g Pasta Grandé Gnocchi or Penne
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 4 litres water
- Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 4 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and fry for 1 more minute, without letting the garlic brown.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme and wine, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are beginning to collapse.
- Add the chicken slices and stock (or water) and simmer gently until the chicken is almost cooked through.
- Stir in the spinach and cook, uncovered, for another 2 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted.
- Place the cream cheese in a separate bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot liquid from the pan, then whisk hard until smooth and runny. Return this mixture to the pan and simmer for 2 more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the pieces. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
- Drain the pasta in a big colander and immediately tip it back into its cooking pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.
- Don’t cook the chicken slices for too long, or they will toughen in the pan.
- To save time, use mini chicken fillet strips instead of whole chicken breasts.
- Give this sauce some pep by adding a few sliced Jalapeño peppers (add them when the tomatoes go into the pan).
- Other Pasta Grandé shapes you can use in this recipe: Penne, Cavatappi, Spaghetti, Elbows and Screws.
Creamy Chicken, Tomato & Spinach Pasta
Don’t cook the chicken slices for too long, or they will toughen in the pan.