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Curry chicken pasta with spinach

tl;dr recipe at the bottom


Long time no see, I know, but schedule is so tight I can't even think correctly. On the other side, our government decided for a second lockdown and as far as I'm concerned this will help do what I love at least for the next couple of weeks. Right on the first day of staying home, me and my wife decided to go a bit away of known waters on our first meal so I came up with this dish. To be completely honest this is an alternative of a favored dish of mine which is Salmon in the same sauce but due to the salmon fillet involved, it's cooked differently. Let's see how this is done!



Getting started


So first things first, we need chicken to exist in this recipe but we don't need it in big chunks. General rule is that pasta should be bigger than chicken. Take your time to cut 1 - 1.5 cm of half a chicken breast and at the same time think about the emptiness of your life without cutting your fingers. Slice a couple of garlic cloves and finely chop them as well as one red sweet pepper. And that's it, no more cutting and slicing and more importantly no more thinking about life! At this point, bring water to a boil , add a handful of rock salt and let your pasta cook until 2 minutes prior to al dente. So if the package say 8 minutes for your pasta to be ready, turn the heat down at 6 minutes. Drain them but keep the water because it will be needed later for mysterious reasons!


Let's Cook


In a deep pan, preferably with a thick base, add a tablespoon of unsalted butter. At this stage we need it to be in high heat. When butter goes tsk tsk tsk, add the pieces of chicken and saute them until brown. Turn them on the other side and let them for two minutes.

At two minutes mark add garlic, the sliced red pepper and at the same time lower the heat to medium. We need to get the vegetables to go softer and this will take approximately 6-7 minutes. You need to be extra careful with the garlic as we don't want it to get brown. The more brown it gets the more its taste changes. If this happens, just take a tablespoon of pasta water and pour it over to lower the temperature and save our precious garlic slices from certain doom.

While waiting for the vegetables, take a bowl and add a tablespoon of tomato paste. In the same bowl add one and a half teaspoons of curry powder and combine them until you have a ball of brown paste. When you are satisfied with the softness of your veggies, add the brown ball of flavor and mix it well so everything changes color! At this point we need only one minute so the tomato paste gets sauted which will help it lose some of its sourness. When paste is sauted, pour 250 ml of coconut milk and raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper and stir.


We need to let it like that for a couple of minutes and then we must "break" the boil by bringing a ladleful of pasta water and bring the heat down to medium again. Let it simmer and cook it until the chicken gets soft. We need to fill in water a couple of times to get to the point where chichen is easily chewed. Check the taste if it's salty enough and if you can sense a bit of sourness just add a pinch of brown sugar to tone it down more. (It will add sweetness though)

When it's ready, add 150 gr. of baby spinach (technically cover the whole pan). You can use any type of spinach you want, but I got a bag of readied and clean baby spinach because if you look on the top of your browser it still says "sloth" somewhere. Spinach needs less than 5 minutes to shrink to an inacceptable size but when it gets there, it's ready! Stir decently so spinach gets everywhere.

Retract the pan from the heat and serve it warm!


Final touches


While most pasta dishes are in dire need of gratted cheese, I wouldn't recommend it here. This pasta have their own flavour and odor as it is and freshly ground pepper is all it needs. But I won't be there with you to see what you are doing with your own food, so feel free to add cheese if you think you need it. To be honest I use cheese mostly for gastronomical AND for psychological reasons as well!



Ingredients

Preparation time:10 minutes | Cook time:35 minutes | Serves:3


  • 400 gr penne pasta

  • half a chicken breast

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 sweet red pepper

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 & ½ tsp curry powder

  • 150 gr baby spinach

  • 250 ml coconut milk

  • 3-4 ladlefuls of pasta water

  • salt

  • fresly ground pepper



tl;dr version


  • Cut chicken brest in 1-1.5 cm pieces

  • Finely slice garlic cloves and sweet red pepper

  • Cook pasta until 2 minutes prior to reaching al dante. Drain them and keep pasta water

  • Saute chicken in a tbsp of butter in a pan with thick base

  • When you turn the chicken to brown the other side, add garlic and red pepper.

  • Saute until the vegetables are soft. Add if needed a bit of pasta water so garlic doesn't get burned.

  • Mix in a bowl tomato paste with curry powder and saute it with the rest for one minute

  • Add coconut milk. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium and let it simmer.

  • Add a couple of times, a ladle of pasta water to help chicken soften more so it's not chewy.

  • When chicken is as soft as you need, add spinach for five minutes.

  • Stir and serve warm.

  • Cheese isn't needed but freshly ground pepper is.


Enjoy!


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