CREAMY CHICKEN, TOMATO & SPINACH PASTA

Prep: 10 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes    
Serves: 4 - 6

Fresh cherry tomatoes are like little flavour bombs, adding bursts of sweetness and acidity to pasta dishes. An unusual ingredient in this colourful dish is a tub of cream cheese, which produces a rich, silky sauce perfect for coating our Pasta Grandé Gnocchi.

Ingredients

  •  3 Tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 x 300 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 skinless, deboned chicken breasts, sliced
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock (or water)
  • 150 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 x 230 g tub medium-fat cream cheese
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g Pasta Grandé Gnocchi or Penne
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 4 litres water

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 4 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and fry for 1 more minute, without letting the garlic brown.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme and wine, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are beginning to collapse.
  3. Add the chicken slices and stock (or water) and simmer gently until the chicken is almost cooked through.
  4. Stir in the spinach and cook, uncovered, for another 2 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted.
  5. Place the cream cheese in a separate bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot liquid from the pan, then whisk hard until smooth and runny. Return this mixture to the pan and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  7. Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the pieces. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
  8. Drain the pasta in a big colander and immediately tip it back into its cooking pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.
  9. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.
Papa Grandé’s Tips
  • Don’t cook the chicken slices for too long, or they will toughen in the pan.
  • To save time, use mini chicken fillet strips instead of whole chicken breasts.
  • Give this sauce some pep by adding a few sliced Jalapeño peppers (add them when the tomatoes go into the pan).
  • Other Pasta Grandé shapes you can use in this recipe: Penne, Cavatappi, Spaghetti, Elbows and Screws.
  •  3 Tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
  • 1 x 300 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 skinless, deboned chicken breasts, sliced
  • ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock (or water)
  • 150 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 x 230 g tub medium-fat cream cheese
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g Pasta Grandé Gnocchi or Penne
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 4 litres water
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 4 minutes, or until just soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and fry for 1 more minute, without letting the garlic brown.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes, thyme and wine, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are beginning to collapse.
  3. Add the chicken slices and stock (or water) and simmer gently until the chicken is almost cooked through.
  4. Stir in the spinach and cook, uncovered, for another 2 minutes, or until the leaves have wilted.
  5. Place the cream cheese in a separate bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot liquid from the pan, then whisk hard until smooth and runny. Return this mixture to the pan and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  7. Bring the water and salt to a fast boil in a large pot. Add all the pasta in one go and stir to separate the pieces. Briefly cover the pot with a lid until the water comes back to a rapid boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring now and then, for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender (al dente).
  8. Drain the pasta in a big colander and immediately tip it back into its cooking pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.
  9. Transfer to a serving platter and serve hot.
Papa Grandé’s Tips
  • Don’t cook the chicken slices for too long, or they will toughen in the pan.
  • To save time, use mini chicken fillet strips instead of whole chicken breasts.
  • Give this sauce some pep by adding a few sliced Jalapeño peppers (add them when the tomatoes go into the pan).
  • Other Pasta Grandé shapes you can use in this recipe: Penne, Cavatappi, Spaghetti, Elbows and Screws.

Related Hint

Creamy Chicken, Tomato & Spinach Pasta

Don’t cook the chicken slices for too long, or they will toughen in the pan.

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