Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Chicken and Fennel Pasta

Although I am still trying to keep to a healthy diet (and failing spectacularly after my goat curry the other night), I am trying to get back on track. I had some chicken breast pieces in the freezer and decided to make a chicken and roasted fennel sauce to go with wholemeal pasta. Another reason I need to get a healthy diet going is because in March I am going on a beach holiday and I don't want Greenpeace trying to push me back into the sea because I look like a beached whale, so I need to lose some weight.

I roasted the onion, garlic and fennel beforehand and as the outer layers of the onion and fennel can be tough when roasted, ensure you remove these layers before cutting and adding to the sauce.

The only reason I am using chicken breast pieces is because they were reduced in the supermarket. The only time I use chicken breast is when they are reduced as chicken thigh meat is in my view much better. The thigh meat has more flavour, is not as dry and it also helps to add more flavour to sauces.

  • 1 onion whole
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole and in skins
  • 1 bulb of fennel, cut in half
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g chicken cut in chunks
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato purée
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to season
  • (serves 4)

Pre-heat the oven to 140C and put the onion, garlic and fennel in a roasting tin. Add 1tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil and mix together. Place into the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Once roasted take them out of the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled take the skins off the onion and garlic. Finely chop the onion and crush the two cloves of garlic.

Put the second tablespoon of oil into a pan and gently heat. Add the onion and heat for a few minutes, then add the crushed garlic and stir.

Add the chicken pieces into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, followed by the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée and smoked paprika and cook for another five minutes.

Cut up the fennel, removing any tough outer layers, and add to the sauce and cook until pasta is completed (approximately 15 minutes). Serve with wholewheat spaghetti

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