If you’re just joining me you might think that I only know how to cook pasta since my last recipe was “Quick Creamy Pasta” but when I decided yesterday that my lunch was too good not to share with you I forgot that in December 2015 I had already told you how I feel about pasta. Anyway my relationship with pasta is so deep that it could be featured week after week but don’t worry my waistline couldn’t handle it and so you don’t have to either.
The first thing I ever remember cooking was BBQ Ribs (you know thought I was going to say pasta, but I’m not that predictable). My sister bought me a cookbook for kids when I was about 9 and even though a lot of the ingredients I couldn’t get in Jamaica at that time, ribs weren’t hard to find and since they turned out well it gave me the confidence to cook more. Soon after I started experimenting in the kitchen I realised the versatility of pasta, from seeing Fettuccine Alfredo on every restaurant menu in Kingston to then discovering the real deal with Cacio e Pepe in Rome, my tastebuds grew to love the simple noodle made from flour, eggs and water.
When I hosted friends for dinner in high school I’d always cook a pasta dish because it was guaranteed crowd pleaser. Now if I need a guilty pleasure, a pick me up, a cuddle or something to make me feel that the world is a better place, I turn to a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine. This dish I created on the spot because I was having a rough day, there are many substitutions so use it as your base creamy pasta recipe and then personalise it to suit your taste and your mood. The first time I made it, the penne pasta was coated in a carbonara-style sauce using just egg yolk because I wanted it to be light, then with the leftovers I made a thicker creamy sauce because I needed that additional comfort. That’s the great thing about pasta, it can do whatever you need it to do as far as feeding your soul goes.
Live, Love, Eat!
- 500g penne pasta (1 small pack)
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1/2 small onion, diced finely
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 200g button mushrooms (1/2 small pack)
- 1 broccoli
- 1/2 glass of white wine (choose one you like to drink)
- 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 cup plain flour
- 275ml double cream
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Put a pot of water on the stove with a pinch of salt to boil with a cover
- Meanwhile chop your chicken into 1" pieces and season with salt and pepper, set aside
- Cut your mushrooms in half and trim the base of your broccoli then cut base creating small florets all roughly the same size as the mushroom (they'll look like little trees)
- Once the water is boiling add the pasta and a little oil before stirring. Cook as per the instruction on the pack, but for fresh pasta it should take about 4 minutes, dried pasta about 9-12 minutes.
- Add the broccoli to the pot with pasta when you have a minute left of cooking, then remove 1/2 cup of pasta water, then strain the pot.
- Rinse the broccoli and pasta with cold water to stop cooking.
- While the pasta is cooking in a separate pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add onions and garlic, once soft (after about three minutes) add the chicken and cook until golden (about 8 minutes).
- Add mushrooms and half of the parsley to the chicken for a minute before adding the wine.
- Reduce the heat to low once the wine bubbles and cook until there is no more smell of alcohol then set aside.
- In the pot that you used for the pasta, put it back on the stove (empty) and melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour to melted butter and stir until it is fully combined then whisk in double cream and pasta water.
- Once the sauce is thick add parmesan cheese, pasta, broccoli, chicken and mushroom mixture and stir until the pasta is warm and coated nicely.
- Salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve with parsley and parmesan on top.
- This recipe works well with fresh pasta, different shaped pasta, prawns instead of chicken or more veg and no meat. It's always a winner!