If you know me, you’ll know that I’m definitely a planner rather than a winger. Our family meal plans are put together on a Saturday morning and while we may not stick to the days religiously, we generaly eat the what’s planned througout the week.
With this recipe I’ve discovered that there is much to be said for the kind of creativity that comes with being tired, hungry and not wanting to invest the 30 minutes needed to cook the dinner on the plan!!
This was meant to be a pasta bake but that would have involved time in the oven – this was cooked solely on the stove top and was ready to serve fridge to table in 15 minutes.
Alfredo is of course delicious but also packed with a LOT of double cream and while I don’t demonize any food, I feel that level of richness should be for something more special than a midweek dinner. The sauce I’ve used is a flour based broth enriched with a little creme fraiche and parmesan, giving a lovely creamy taste without the heaviness.
The addition of mushrooms and spinach makes it a complete meal in itself with minimal effort – which is what, as a busy Mum, I’m all about!
- 250g dried pasta shapes
- 400g chicken breast, cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube, made up with 1/4 pint boiling water
- 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
- 100ml creme fraiche (half fat can be used, if preferred)
- 4 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil (I speed this up by boiling the water in the kettle first), and add the pasta and cook according to the time on the packet
- In another large pan, heat the olive oil over a high heat and add the garlic. Stir until starting to sizzle then add the chicken. Continue stirring until browned
- Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until cooked down
- Add the flour and stir well. Add the chicken stock and mix through. Let the sauce cook for around 5 more minutes, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add more water if the sauce looks too thick
- Add the spinach and allow to wilt, then stir through the creme fraiche, parmesan and a generous sprinkling of black pepper
- Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir into the chicken sauce
- Serve with extra parmesan and black pepper