There is no greater pleasure, in my mind, than a dinner cooked using as few pots and pans and necessary, and I am happy to say this is one of those dishes.
Combining the beauty of Chicken Cacciatore with the carby goodness of pasta, this recipe is thick, heart-warming, and a perfect accompaniment to a winter night. Although it is not a recipe you can walk away from, as regular stirring is required, it is a recipe that is so full of rich, thick flavours and rib-sticking goodness, all your efforts are not gone to waste,
Although the concept of cooking the pasta directly in a sauce may seem a trifle odd, the starch from the pasta cooks into the sauce causing it to thicken and become far richer, and the pasta itself absorbs the flavours of the sauce. Although I personally have used spaghetti (as per the photo and what was in my pantry!) any pasta can be used in this dish and I fully encourage a shell, macaroni, or spiral.
100g diced pancetta
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, fine diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
300g chicken, thinly sliced (stir fry strips)
1 cup mixed and pitted olives
2 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
3 bay leaves
¼ tsp dried thyme
250g uncooked pasta
1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta for about ten minutes or until the fat has rendered (gone soft). Do not drain off any of the oils!
2. Stir through the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until the onion has started to caramelise (gone brown).
3. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, or until just coloured, and then add the olives and stir through..
4. Next, add the tomatoes, stock and wine and stir through until well combined.
5. Add the pasta, bay leaves and thyme, bring to the boil and allow to bubble away, uncovered, for approximately 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the pasta has cooked. Stir regularly to ensure nothing catches and the pasta doesn’t clump together.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes before serving with a generous helping of parmesan and some crusty bread.