The whole essence of this book is speed and there were times when I was reading the instructions when I felt like I was rushing when I was reading it. I am not sure if that was my inflection or the way it was written!
Like most of Jamie Oliver's books, this is full of beautiful photographs and I loved that at the back there were a couple of pages that showed the photos of each recipe but with added nutritional information. I did want to mention one thing about the presentation of this book though. I know what it is all the rage to have your meals served on boards now when you go to restaurants but I was surprised that nearly every recipe in this book is instructed to be served on boards or platters and is pictured that way all the way through the book. I don't know about anyone else, but this is not a way that we ever eat at home! I am all for only making the plates dirty that have to be used, not any others! Maybe that is just me!
I tend to cook the same things over and over and so the idea of finding some easy, quick, tasty and hopefully healthy meals like these is definitely appealing. One thing we do make quite regularly is chicken pasta bake but usually when I make it I brown off chicken pieces, boil or steam broccoli and then mix it with cooked pasta, a jar of sauce, topped with cheese and shove it in the oven for half an hour or so. Even though it is easy, it still takes an hour or so by the time you cook everything separately and then put it in the oven. The other fallback is just pasta with a jar of sauce which does the job but isn't particularly exciting.
There were lots of recipes that I thought I might make if I was to buy this book, but this would be the first one. I am not sure that I would be able to do it in 15 minutes but even if it takes 30 minutes that is still doable. It would certainly be a nice change from the two normal alternatives I talked about above!
Chicken Pasta Herby 6-veg Ragu
1 large leek
1 stick of celery
1 courgette (zucchini)
3 jarred red peppers
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
320g dried wholewheat fusili
2x150g skinless chicken breasts
3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1/2 a fresh chilli
4 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp pine nuts
Parmesan cheese, to serve
Split the leek lengthways, rinse under the cold tap, then finely chop in the processor with the trimmed celery and carrot, the courgette and peppers. Put into the casserole pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, the thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir regularly. Put the pasta into a large pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions.
Dice the chicken into 2cm chunks and put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, tossing regularly until golder and cook through. Stir the passata into the vegetables and simmer. Finely slice the bacon and chilli and add to the golden chicken, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Strip in the rosemary leaves, add the bay leaves and pine nuts, and fry for a minute or two, until the bacon is golden, then drizzle with balsamic.
Season the sauce, drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of starchy cooking water, then toss the pasta with the sauce, loosening with the cooking water, if needed, and pour on to a platter. Scatter the chicken and bacon on top of the pasta and serve with a grating of Parmesan.
When I was looking for this recipe online, I did find this cool time lapse of the preparation.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post.