After making my Eton Mess Cheesecake I ended up with half a tub of leftover Philadelphia cream cheese in the fridge. As we’re trying to reduce our food waste at the moment I wanted to make sure I used it before it went out of date. I know we could have used it for lunch or supper, but on this occasion I wanted to do something a little more interesting than spreading it on some crackers.
Cream cheese is a surprisingly versatile ingredient. There’s a lot you can do with it – especially if you’re on a budget. As a student a tub of garlic and herb cream cheese could be used to make most basic meals into something much more interesting. A couple of tablespoons stirred through some cooked pasta would quickly turn it into a tasty and satisfying supper.
The same principles are applied here, with the cream cheese providing the richness to the pasta sauce that would otherwise be lacking. The base of the sauce is made from lemon juice and chicken stock. The artichoke hearts bring texture and a lovely flavour. As an aisde, I used tinned artichokes here as I don’t have the time or patience to prepare them from scratch. The asparagus and rocket added right at the end of cooking bring a lovely fresh green hit to the dish.
You could stop at that stage and serve the pasta on its own, with a few shavings of parmesan over the top. Indeed, it would be a lovely, light plate of food if you did. However, I wanted to make it into a more filling meal, so added some oven-baked chicken breasts too. These were dredged in seasoned flour, with added lemon zest, before being baked – giving them a slightly crisp, golden coating. A perfect contrast to the smooth, creamy pasta sauce beneath.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
For the Chicken
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- 1 Lemon zested
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
For the Pasta
- 150 g Pasta
- 4 Sping Onions trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
- 100 g Artichoke Hearts thinly sliced
- 2 Lemons juice and zest
- 100 ml Chicken Stock
- 100 g Full-Fat Cream Cheese
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ½ Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 8 Asparagus Tips blanched
- 25 g Rocket
- Parmesan shavings to garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Mix together the flour, lemon zest, salt and pepper and spread out on a large plate.
- Flatten the chicken breast slightly: put them between two sheets of cling film and bash with a rolling pin until around 2cm thick. Dredge with the seasoned flour mixture until well coated, gently tapping off the excess.
- Melt the butter and oil together in a deep frying pan over a medium high heat. Lower in the chicken breasts and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until slightly golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and put into the oven for 20 minutes, until cooked through.
- Use the same frying pan to prepare the pasta sauce, so don’t throw away the residual oil and butter from the pan. Reduce the heat to low, then add in the spring onions. Sauté for 5 minutes or so until tender.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.
- Add the garlic to the spring onions and fry for a minute or so, until fragrant. Add in the artichoke hearts then stir well and warm through.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan, then bring to a simmer. Allow to reduce slightly then add in the cream cheese before stirring to create a creamy sauce. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Add the blanched asparagus to the pan and warm through.
- Drain the cooked pasta, retaining a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Add both to the sauce in the pan, stirring until the pasta is well coated in the sauce.
- Remove from the heat, then in the rocket leaves allowing them to wilt in the residual heat.
- Divide the pasta between two plates, then top with the cooked chicken.
- Garnish with a few parmesan shavings, then serve.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||17||g|
|of which Sugars||7||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|