My name is Sarah, I am Pakistani, and I love Pasta. Like many many Pakistanis out there. A friend of mine and I were chatting today about stereotypes - about how ethnic advertising usually features ethnic minorities being... ethnic. Eating biryani, drinking chai, wearing kurtas etc etc. But desi people chugging cappuccinos after having a delicious meal of Sun-dried Tomato & Chicken Pasta while wearing jeans? Gasp. (insert eye roll)
I do have to say that things seem to be changing. I have worked with Loblaws this year as part of their #FoodLoversUnite program and what I have absolutely loved most about the experience is the creative freedom to just be me. If my girl feels like making a Chickpea and Spinach Curry good for her, if this mama goes and hangs out with an In-Store Registered Dietitian outside the Asian food aisle that's fine too. I am going to fully confess that we did discuss Daal and Diabetes, two things that are very close to this Desi's heart.
To be or not to be Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Names are important aren't they? When I first tested this recipe I thought of it as Tuscan Chicken Pasta and then when I sat to type it up I realized I was so wrong. Firstly this Sun-dried Tomato & Chicken Pasta has like half the cream of most Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipes. Now this is not because I am healthy, but because I find I don't like the heaviness that follows a surfeit of heavy cream although man does that stuff taste good sometimes! Secondly my kids don't like random chewy things in their pasta. That's how they described the glorious tangy sun-dried tomatoes the first time I made it. Random Chewy Things.
So this Mama adapted as all mamas do and blitzed the sauce. I was so happy with the overall flavour and the kids ate it as well. Win-Win folks, Win-Win.
As always if you make this pasta please rate it, am adding lots of notes with the questions I've gotten about it in the past. Also do share your creation with me on Instagram where you can find me @flourandspiceblog
- 16 oz Pasta (one box - I used Penne)
- ¾ lb Boneless Chicken cut into bite sized pieces
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup minced onion
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes (or less)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 ½ cup cream
- ¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes (jarred kind, drained of oil)
- 2 cups spinach (chopped)
- 1 cup mozzarella or monterey jack
- 2-3 tbsp Chopped Basil
- Parmesan Cheese (grated)
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Mix the chicken with the seasonings and olive oil and set aside. I usually do this on the chopping board I used for the chicken.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil, then add the pasta and boil as per package directions. You can start the sauce while this happens
Reserve one cup of pasta water before draining
Heat a saute pan on medium high heat and add the chicken pieces in one even layer, cook for two minutes on each side and remove from the pan
Without wiping the pan add a little olive oil (if needed) and saute the onions, garlic, and red chilli flakes on medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Take care not to burn the garlic. Turn the heat down if it starts to darken too quickly.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pan and cook for a minute.
For a smooth sauce remove most of the sauce ingredients from the pan and blitz them in a mini blender with one cup chicken stock
Pour the mix back into the pan, add the chicken and bring to a simmer
Turn the heat off and add one cup of the cream, the spinach, and the cheese
Mix with your cooked pasta and adjust the consistency with the remaining half cup cream and the pasta water
Now taste and adjust seasoning per taste.
Top with Basil and Parmesan and enjoy with warm garlic bread and a side salad.
- I have used both Mozzarella and Monterey Jack in this recipe to good effect. If you have neither available you can use Parmesan and a little Cream Cheese to delicious effect. Just reserve a little extra pasta water to thin the sauce out
- The kind of pasta you use will affect the sauce so I do not recommend large pasta shells
Want more pasta? How about these guys below!
- Fajita Pasta
- Garlicky Mushroom Pasta
- Mushroom Stroganoff
- Spinach and Corn Mac and Cheese - worst pictures but one of my all time favourites!
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