Here is a dish I made the other night to rave reviews. It’s easy, delectable and makes a great casual meal to serve friends, especially for an unplanned meal. As usual with Nigella’s recipes, I had to tweak hers. It’s a winner.
Pasta with Chicken, Raisins and Pine Nuts
Lawson found the original recipe – a Friday night dish from Italy called Tagliatelle Frisinsal – in The Book of Jewish Food (Knopf; $32.99) by Claudia Roden. Great on on a buffet, this makes a lot but leftovers reheat well. Use a sturdy pasta, not your angel hair. Tagliatelle work well; I like caserecce which look like twisted rope. Instead of lemon juice, you could brush chicken with a balsamic-based salad dressing. Toast pine nuts in dry skillet, shaking, over medium-low heat until golden brown, about 5 min. I used a fresh free-range President’s Choice chicken from Zehrs – the taste is incomparable.
1 cup raisins
½ cup Madeira or good quality fruit juice
4 lb/2 kg or larger roasting chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp each: Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chicken stock
1 lb/500 g dried pasta
2 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped or 1 tsp ground dried
¾ cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil), thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup toasted pine nuts
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400F.
In small bowl, combine raisins and Madeira.
Roast chicken as is or butterfly: Remove backbone by slicing down each side of it with poultry shears. Crack breastbone by cutting or pressing down on it to flatten. Place chicken on rack in roasting pan, breast side up. Brush with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Roast in oven 30 min; pour stock around chicken. Roast 20 to 30 min. more or until juices run clear when pierced with fork. Transfer to warmed platter. Pour pan juices into small saucepan.
Just before chicken is ready, cook pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain. Add to large, warmed bowl.
Add raisins with soaking liquid, rosemary, sage and sundried tomatoes to pan juices. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 10 min. or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Pull meat and skin from chicken, tearing into bite-sized pieces. Add to pasta with raisin mixture and toasted pine nuts. Toss well. Taste; adjust seasoning. Top with parmesan and serve more on side. Garnish with parsley.
Makes at least 8 servings.