A plateful of pasta enriched with generous amounts of crème fraîche is perfect food for a cool evening. Crème fraîche has a slight tang to it which perfectly complements the savour of chicken, shallots, and garlic, making it indulgently creamy without being cloying and stodgy. Using the same weight of sliced fresh mushrooms would also be delicious – especially with a little dried porcini mixed in for depth of flavour.
I cooked some regular dried spaghetti for this dish, but you can use any pasta shape you like. You may also want to try this with fresh pasta, which I’ve read is particularly suited to creamy sauces due to its silky, delicate texture.
- . 200–300g chicken boneless thighs or breasts, skinned if preferred (2 – 3 portions)
- . Small knob of butter
- . A little oil
- . 100ml white wine or chicken stock
- . Salt and pepper
- . 175g - 200g pasta of your choice
- . 2 shallots, finely minced
- . 2 cloves garlic, also minced
- . 125ml crème fraîche
- . Parmesan cheese to serve, if liked
- Heat a medium-sized frying pan over a medium-high flame.
- Once the pan is hot, add the butter and a spot of oil, just enough to thinly cover the pan.
- While the fat is heating up, pat the chicken as dry as possible with a paper towel.
- Add all the chicken to the pan when the butter stops foaming.
- Let the meat brown on one side for a good few minutes before turning to sear the other side, being wary of the hot spitting oil.
- Pour in the wine or the chicken stock and season everything with a good grinding of salt and pepper.
- Simmer over a medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes until the meat is cooked, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken portions.
- Test for doneness by cutting a thick piece in half: neither the flesh nor the juice should be pink; it should be clear or light yellow.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta by bringing a large pan of well-salted water to the boil.
- Add the pasta to the pan and cook for 8 – 12 minutes until it is al dente (I always nibble a bit to check), then drain it, reserving a small cupful of the pasta cooking water.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the frying pan, leaving behind the juices and the oil.
- Slice the chicken into large chunks, then set aside.
- Set the frying pan back on a medium heat and add all the shallots and garlic, stirring until everything is soft, slightly translucent and a little brown.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan, along with the crème fraîche.
- Stir to combine everything into a creamy sauce and heat everything thoroughly.
- Let the sauce bubble for a minute or two, then season to taste with more salt and pepper – try to season it fairly strongly so it’s still flavourful when it’s mixed with pasta.
- Once the seasoning is to your liking, turn off the heat.
- Add the pasta to the pan and toss with the sauce, adding a few drops of reserved pasta water so everything is pleasingly smooth.
- Top each serving with parmesan cheese, if liked, and enjoy straight away.