The first time I tried this recipe, son & heir was away on an extra-curricular sleepover and I had planned an entirely different meal. However, being suddenly down to two people for dinner seemed too good an opportunity to waste on
I don't remember why I didn't blog it at the time, probably just got swamped by other things. Real life does have a habit of doing that from time to time - getting in the way!
It is very easily scaled up if you're wanting to feed more than three. Oh and one other thing - it is perfectly okay to use plain old peas, instead of the petit pois. We can't all have a bag of petit pois in the freezer, just waiting for us to need them.
CHICKEN & BACON CREAMY PASTA (serves 3)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
100g smoked lardons or 3-4 rashers of smoked bacon, diced
1 red onion, chopped finely
2 garlic clove, chopped finely
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced across the grain
0.25 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of sea salt
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
180ml Chardonnay white wine
0.5 tsp dried tarragon
0.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tsp low salt vegetable stock powder or 1 low salt vegetable stock cube
100g frozen petits pois
5 tbsp double cream
200g pasta tubes - penne or spirali are good
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish.
Fill a large saucepan with water, add a little salt and set it to boil.
Heat the oil in a deep non-stick frying pan and add the bacon. Fry over a high heat until all the water has burned off and the bacon is beginning to caramelise. Add the onion and garlic and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is transparent and softened. Remove everything from the pan to a bowl and set aside to keep warm.
If necessary, add a little more olive oil and, once that is heated, add the chicken breast slices and season lightly with a little sea salt & the ground black pepper. Leave to cook over a high heat for 5 minutes or so until the chicken pieces are beginning to take on a golden colour, then turn and cook again, until the chicken has largely turned opaque.
Add the mushroom slices to the pan and stir to combine. Cook on for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften slightly. Add the onion/bacon/garlic mixture back into the pan and stir through.
Next, add the wine and let it bubble over a high heat until it has reduced by half. Season to taste and stir well.
The water in your large pan should have boiled by now, so add the dry pasta and stir. Cook to the manufacturer's recommendation - around 10-12 minutes, ordinarily.
While the pasta cooks, add the tarragon, Worcestershire sauce and stock powder or stock cube to the chicken and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to moderate and allow the contents of the pan to come to a lively simmer.
Add the petit pois and cream and stir through. The rest is simply personal taste. I like my sauce to have reduced quite considerably as that causes the flavour to intensify. If you like your sauce to be wetter, then stop the cooking process when you like. You can also add a little wetted cornflour to thicken the sauce, if you prefer a sauce with a thicker consistency. The choice is yours.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it thoroughly and return to the hot pan. Add the chicken mixture and stir through. Serve straight away in warm bowls with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.