Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lazy pasta dinner

Following on from comments on my previous post: cooking doesn't have to be fancy, or hard work!! 

I think everyone has at least one of these tricks up their sleeve for that short-notice or can't-be-bothered bit of comfort food: allow me to introduce my leftover chicken pasta recipe!
I love that this uses kitchen staples (easily substituted without any ill effects), and a bit of leftover chicken - or (gasp!) supermarket rotisserie chicken - and have dinner made in about 20 minutes.

You'll need:
Leftover chicken or turkey or hot supermarket chicken
Dry pasta (really, whatever you have on hand.  I like giant spirals, but have also used spaghetti, macaroni elbows, and orzo!)
1 brown onion
1 tsp crushed garlic (optional)
1 can chopped tomatoes or 1 can Watties tomato soup
Sour cream or cream or creme fraiche
Spring onion/chives (optional) - chopped, to serve
(I told you there were lots of opportunities to substitute ingredients!)

First, put water on to boil, add salt, and then pasta.  The pasta usually takes longer than the sauce, so get this underway.

Meanwhile, chop your onion however you like it.  I'm fussy with mine, but you really can do whatever you want with yours!!
To chop an onion in my kitchen, you need two things: an onion, and a really sharp knife.  Then chop it like so:

Brown the onion in a little oil - the point is more to soften it than to brown it, but I like it a little golden around the edges for flavour.
Next, add garlic and stir very briefly to brown, but do not burn or it will be bitter.  Pour in tomato and add chicken.
Simmer long enough that you are sure the chicken is hot all the way through.  Pre-cooked chicken will start to fall apart and really become part of the sauce.  Trust me, this is a good thing!

When you're happy with the sauce (go on, stick a spoon in and check), add cream/sour cream to taste (I usually use a few tablespoons of sour cream).

Pour the sauce in with the drained pasta, stir it all together, and serve.


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