© David Loftus
chicken and mushroom pasta bake
I remember meeting a lovely old couple outside my parents’ pub and when they heard I was going to Italy they told me to make sure I cooked turkey tetrazzini – I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about and then, by chance, I saw a recipe for chicken tetrazzini in an old Italian cookbook and it’s great – really tacky but gorgeous! Here’s my version...
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Put your porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover them (approx. 2/3 cup). Put to one side to soak for a few minutes. Heat a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients, and pour in a splash of olive oil. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently in the oil. Strain the porcini, reserving the soaking water, and add them to the pan with the garlic and fresh mushrooms. Add the wine, with the strained porcini soaking water, and turn the heat down. Simmer gently until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions and drain well. Add the cream to the pan of chicken, then bring to the boil and turn the heat off. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy chicken sauce and toss well. Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil and stir well. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish or non-stick pan, sprinkle with half the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until golden brown, bubbling and crisp. Divide between your plates, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese before serving.
• 1 oz /a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
• olive oil
• 4 chicken thighs, preferably higher welfare, boned, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 handfuls of mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and torn
• 1 cup white wine
1lb dried spaghetti
• 2 ½ cups double cream
• 7oz• Parmesan cheese, grated
• a sprig of fresh basil, leaves picked
• extra virgin olive oil