Recipe: Spicy Chicken Penne

You can’t capture everything in a photo, I wish they had already invented ‘tasteavision’ to justify this dish. The Italians rarely, if ever, serve chicken with pasta. I’ve been a purist when it comes to this and more often than not reach for olive oils, artichokes and tomatoes when rustling up a quick tasty dinner.

However, this dish does something to convert even the most sceptical Italian. Laced in spicy nduja and a rich creamy sauce this dish is well worth a mention among the carbonaras, arrabiatas and vongolles.

(serves 2)

Ingredients

1 large chicken breast
180g Penne pasta
1/2 Tsp chilli flakes
2 Tbsp nduja paste
1 Tsp dried oregano
5 slices streaky bacon, cut into lardons
200ml double cream
100g finely grated parmesan
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook as per the packet instructions (8-13 minutes depending on the thickness of penne you have bought). Prepare the sauce while the pasta cooks, it’s super quick.

Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Place the chicken breast between 2 sheets of cling film. Lightly flatten the chicken by gently hitting it with a rolling pin until it is the same thickness throughout, about 1cm. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil then sear on the griddle for 3-4 minutes on one side without moving, then flip and repeat, remove and set aside to rest.

In a clean wide saute or frying pan, add a Tbsp of olive oil and the bacon, fry for 3-4 minutes until lightly golden, add the nduja and cook for a further minute. Slice the chicken into strips and add to the pan (if the chicken is slightly under cooked don’t worry, it will finish cooking in the sauce, you don’t want overcooked dry chicken anyway) with the oregano and 2 small ladels of starchy pasta water plus the lemon juice. Reduce this down for a minute or two, stirring, then add the cream. Heat gently but don’t boil the cream, then add the parmesan and stir well. Keep warm.

To finish drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Stir well and serve immediately with extra parmesan.

 

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