Friday, 30 May 2014

Chicken and spinach pasta with toasted pine nuts

Firstly let me apologise for the short break away but what can I say, I've been enjoying the fruits of my labour... I don't just say this stuff for fun guys, this shit works! I've still been cooking, but just haven't been able to take shots and get things written - I promise to be better if you'll stick with me!

This one is something I put together a few years ago and still gets a great reaction when I pull it out of the bag. It's perfect (if you ignore the bacon lardons that I snuck into this version) for when the Mrs is on a diet and you need protein for your gym regime. With the pine nuts and spinach, I've also thrown in a few superfoods as well. Aren't you lucky?!

There's a lot of ingredients going on here but they all combine to make something awesome - mark my words. 

How it's done

If she (and/or you) are on a health kick then it might be best to leave the lardons out but, since I'm not and think they add a nice amount of flavour, I didn't.
  • Pine nuts
  • Chicken fillets
  • Bacon lardons (your call)
  • Garlic
  • Red onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry or plum tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Spinach
  • Whole wheat spaghetti
This is all pretty straightforward. The first thing you have to do is toast the pine nuts in a DRY pan. Dry means dry guys, no oil or anything required. Literally get a frying pan on a medium heat and throw them in. Keep giving them a toss and after a couple of minutes they will start to brown. Once they go, the go quickly so keep an eye on them. Once they have some colour, get them out of the pan and into a bowl for later. At this point stick the spaghetti into some boiling water with a bit of olive oil to keep it separated. Leave that going whilst you do the rest.

Next, dice up the onion and mushrooms and lob them into a large frying pan (or wok) with the garlic, which should be crushed or finely chopped, and some olive oil. Fry for a few minutes or until the onions get soft and then throw in the diced chicken breast.

Keep this awesome little mixture cooking until the chicken is cooked through. At this point add the tomatoes which you will have halved. They will start to soften and break up to create a little bit of a sauce. Next add in a shit load of spinach. It will fill the pan and you will freak out, but it will wilt into next to nothing very quickly. 

When the spinach has wilted, add a large lug of balsamic vinegar and a dash of nutmeg. Cannot believe I just used the word dash. Moving on quickly... Leave everything in the pan to cook down and reduce for a few minutes.

Drain and plate the spaghetti before adding the chicken and spinach mixture on top. Throw on the toasted pine nuts and you are golden. If you happen to be fancy like me and have some balsamic glaze then great but it's not a necessity. Enjoy...


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