The inspiration for this recipe was the ingredients I just happened to have in my fridge. It’s a bit like the TV show ‘Ready, Steady Cook’ where contestants have to create a dish from four or five random ingredients. I used to love watching ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ when I was in between work contracts (a long time ago now) and succumbed to day time TV. That was when Ainsley Harriott was the presenter and he was very funny. It’s good to see he’s still presenting cooking shows and is just as passionate about food.
I sat next to Ainsley Harriott once at a football match, at the Emirates Stadium, when my team Crystal Palace were playing Arsenal (Ainsley’s team). I got the ticket through a friend of a friend who couldn’t go that day. I’m sure Ainsley Harriott knew I was a Palace fan sitting behind enemy lines but I didn’t let on. I also didn’t want to be uncool and ask for a selfie. We lost 2-1 and I had to restrain myself from celebrating when we scored. After the game he picked me up in a bear hug (my feet actually left the ground) and said I had brought Arsenal luck that day. Nice guy. Just a little celebrity chef anecdote for you!
This recipe is more sauce than pasta simply because that’s my preference. I know the Italians go in for pasta over sauce but I think that’s the legacy of a culture where food traditionally was in short supply. I also buck the trend in that I prefer well cooked pasta over al dente (what am I like?)
I used sour cream here because it’s all I had but I’m pretty sure ordinary single cream would be better. The sour cream split as soon as I added it (as you can see from the photo). I did manage to lessen the splitting issue by mixing a bit of cornflour with water and quickly stirring that in – but single cream would do a better job I think. I also used spring onions because I was out of standard onions (although shallots would also do).
I had green beans and broccoli to use up so they’ve also been thrown in. Finally, any pasta will do of course although some kind of ribbon pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle is my preference.
- 2 chicken thighs
- 2 spring onions (or one small ordinary onion or a shallot)
- 2 handfuls of mushrooms
- Enough pappardelle for one portion
- Vegetables to use up eg green beans or broccoli
- Couple of pinches of fresh (or dry) herbs such as thyme
- Single cream, about 100ml or so (I dare you to try sour cream)
- Splash or so of white wine
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Parsley to garnish
- Heat the oil in the pan and cook the chicken to seal the meat and then put aside.
- Put water from a boiled kettle in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Salt the water and add the pappardelle, boil for 5 minutes before adding the vegetables. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- While the pasta and vegetables are simmering, cook the onions in the chicken pan on a gentle heat for a few minutes. Turn up the heat and pour in the wine, deglazing the pan so that all the chicken flavours are released.
- Add the mushrooms and return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add the fresh thyme, salt and pepper and a few glugs of the pasta water. Stir well, cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Mix in the cream on a low heat until warmed through. Serve with the pasta and vegetables and garnished with parsley.