This is one of my favourite dishes for batch-cooking and freezing; it has saved my bacon on numerous occasions when unexpected guests dropped by, or when I was having one of my can’t cook/won’t cook’ days.
My advice is to make a huge pot of it, and freeze it in portions – you’ll thank me later!
There’s a fairly simple list of ingredients, many of which are store-cupboard staples. It’s also perfect if you have, say, only two chicken breasts, but many more mouths to feed. The chicken is finely shredded, and so goes an unbelievably long way. Perfect for unexpected – but always welcome – guests!
Come this way..
- 2 largish saucepans – one for the sauce, and one to cook the Pasta
- Warmed pasta bowls
for 4-6 people, generously.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced and then shredded into fine pieces.
- 2 onions, very finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, ditto
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped, seeds discarded
- Large splash of red wine
- Tin of tomatoes and/or fresh plum tomatoes if you have them
- Jar of passata
- Dried Italian herbs
- Fresh basil (if you have it) finely sliced
- A drizzle of Olive oil
- Heaped teaspoon of sun-dried tomato puree
- about 2 tablespoons of Mascarpone cheese
- Pasta (I like spaghetti with this).
- Some more shredded basil (for decoration) and some freshly grated parmesan to serve.
- Heat the oil, then add the onions, chilli and red wine and allow to soften slightly (about 5-10 minutes)
- Add the chicken, herbs, garlic, tinned tomatoes, puree and passata.
- Stir well to combine everything and to make sure that the chicken pieces have separated out.
- Add S+P to taste.
- Then let it sit on a gentle heat for as long as you like. As always, this tastes better the next day, but is still a delicious dinner today!
- NB: Do not add the Mascarpone if you intend to freeze this sauce.
If you’re serving this on the day you make it, decant enough to feed your lucky diners and leave the rest to simmer gently until you want to portion it up for the freezer.
Add the Mascarpone to the decanted sauce, and mix in. Reduce the heat to very low after this.
When the pasta has cooked, return to its cooking pot, then simply empty the now-creamy sauce onto the pasta and stir in gently.
Serve it up on heated pasta plates and garnish with the basil. I usually serve some freshly grated Parmesan and garlicy flatbread with it too.
- Freezing: Freeze the sauce without adding the Mascarpone. Defrost it thoroughly, heat it through and add the mascarpone just before serving.
- Mascarpone generally comes with a fairly long date so I usually have some hanging about, but if you find you haven’t got any handy, a dollop of cream does almost as well. If you haven’t either, just serve it naked – it will still taste fine, just not as creamy.
- My sister has discovered that any made-up leftovers can be chilled and reheated for lunch the next day. – Handy!