26 January 2011

100: Roasted Chicken and Asparagus with Lemon-Basil Pasta

Today's recipe is a bit of a mouthful, to celebrate my 100th post to this blog. I'd say that's roughly 100 recipes - maybe a little more - I've cooked in just under five months. Which is quite impressive, especially given how often I cook enchiladas. Of course, only a few of my recipes are properly usable so far, by which I mean written out clearly with pictures, but that is definitely changing.

The last recipe was for slow-cooking, but today's is ready in the amount of time it takes your oven to roast a couple of chicken breasts (just under 25 minutes for me, in my 20litre oven with three minuscule breasts) (chicken breasts, that is). A well-stocked fridge should usually have everything to make this already - maybe not the asparagus, but feel free to substitute another vegetable - and luckily, for once I did have that well-stocked fridge! I stir-fried the leftovers (about one bowl of pasta) with bacon this morning and it was delicious.

A very summery meal.

Roasted Chicken and Asparagus with Lemon-Basil Pasta
Serves 2 with leftover pasta

3 small chicken breasts
6 asparagus spears
200g pasta
1/4 onion
2 garlic cloves
125ml white wine
2 tablespoons flour
200ml cream
1 tablespoon basil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon milk (may not be necessary)

Place the chicken in a roasting tray and cover liberally with salt, pepper and oil. Put in the oven at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for ten minutes.

Once done, add the asparagus spears to the chicken tray, add more oil, and return to the oven at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for a further fifteen minutes.

In the meantime, you will need to begin boiling the pasta, and making the sauce. Both of these should take about ten minutes.

Chop about 1/4 of an onion and mince the garlic cloves. Heat in an oiled pan on a low flame for a moment before adding the white wine. Continue cooking until the onion is soft. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the onions and wine, and stir to form a loose roux.

Slowly whisk in the 200ml cream. Season with salt, pepper and basil.

Lemon sauce, pre-lemon.
Once heated through and slightly reduced, turn the heat off under the creamy sauce and leave it to rest until the pasta is cooked.

Once the pasta is ready, add about half a cup of pasta water to the cream sauce, and drain. Add the zest and juice of one lemon to the sauce, turn the heat back up to medium-low, and stir through. Taste and season accordingly. The sauce may taste a little too lemony, in which case add some milk and salt.

The sauce should be warm by now, so add the pasta back into the sauce and stir thoroughly until everything is nice and hot. Be careful not to curdle the sauce. Serve with the chicken and asparagus.