Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Spaghetti and Chicken : Fast fix meal

I am on a holiday and I have been having fun alright, but I have been missing the blog so. Finally I got access to the internet today and I thought I must post. I had wanted to post about my culinary adventures here at the Konkan coast but I am having trouble downloading photographs. So I thought I would share this recipe, a favourite,  that I meant to post earlier but hadn't managed to.

So, my brother loves pasta, I guess I have mentioned that before, and he often wants me to toss him up some. He is not too fond of cheese or cream and prefers a tomato sauce for his pasta. Mostly I make him the simplest version of the Arrabiatta, but sometimes when I am in the mood I make him this Chicken and spaghetti, I am so fond of. So is my brother, of course.

It is quite simple really,  chicken cooked in a rich tomatoes sauce into which I add spaghetti and some cheese. This dish takes inspiration from a very fond 'childhood' memory. I was 11, 12 at the most. My mother's aunt had just moved back to India from Canada, after 32 years, And one evening we went to pay them a visit at their Jodhpur Park residence. The woman my mother was referring to as her aunt was nothing like my mum's other aunts. First, she wasn't old, no grey hair you see. Besides, she wore trousers, all my other grand aunts wore saree only and exclusively. And she had an accent. But I loved her already since she brought me the most delightful presents from Canada, including a musical cap for my tooth brush, It was a tiny fairy with pink wings. Her younger son, my mother's cousin and supposedly my uncle (we take relations very seriously) was only 17  and was more like MY cousin. I was in awe of him, his ways, the way he spoke, joked, the entire package. And when he began to show me his collection of books and games I was bowled over, I was 11 mind you. Or 12.

The evening went by in a jiffy. The elders were busy talking, reminiscing, laughing and I was lost in my Canadian cousin's magical world. At 11 o clock, to my grand aunt's alarm, she realized she had forgotten to cook dinner. My parents did their best to dissipate the awkwardness, but Chhor Didu, as I was told to call her, refused to let us leave without eating. "30 minutes" she said was all she needed.

Unlike my parents, I really wanted to stay back for dinner, I had wondered all evening what they ate. Did they eat rice and fish and dal like us, at home, everyday? I was sure people ate fancier stuff in Canada. So when my parents reluctantly agreed to stay back for dinner I was over the moon, Chhor Didu got busy in the kitchen and I continued to play a game my cousin had taught me. But my mind was no longer there, I kept wondering what Chhor didu could whip up in 30 minutes. I tip toed to the kitchen a few times and watched her in silence trying to figure what it was that she was doing, but couldn't. There were several cans and packets were lying around,but I had no clue what they contained.

Dinner was actually ready in 30 minutes. Perhaps less than 30 minutes. Chhor Didu served up macaroni with chicken in tomato sauce. It was the first time I ate macaroni, in fact the first time I ate pasta of any kind. The food was a little bland for my parents so they drizzled tabasco sauce on it. But I was happy. The evening and the dish has been etched in my memory ever since.  Chhor Didu returned to Canada after her husband died of cancer, it was for him that they had decided to shift back. With him gone there was nothing left for her here, Her elder son was going to university in Canada and the younger son began to grow homesick. So she went back to stay with her sons. I miss her so much. We had grown very close over the years she spent in India. We speak at times over the telephone, but it's not the same. This dish is my tribute to those beautiful memories of togetherness.


Spaghetti - 1 pkt
Chicken - 750 g
Tomatoes - 4 medium (cut in large cubes)
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Minced Garlic - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Cloves - 2-3
Bay leaves - 2
Dried Oregano - 1 tsp
Dried Thyme - 1/2 tsp
Red wine - 100 ml
Chili flakes
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese (grated) - 1/2 cup


Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute the minced garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium high flame.

Add the cinnamon stick and the herbs. Few minutes later add the chicken pieces and cook on high flame until chicken is opaque.

De-glaze the pan with the red wine. Add salt, a pinch of sugar, chili flakes and cook covered until chicken is tender.

In the meantime cook the spaghetti to al dente in a pot of water to which you have added a few table spoons of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Once the chicken is cooked through remove cover, add the tomato cubes and cook until the sauce reduces. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaves and discard.

Now pick out the chicken pieces from the sauce and keep aside. Now add the pasta to the sauce and give it a good toss. If it seems a little too dry add a few ladles of the water you have boiled the pasta in.

Add half the Parmesan cheese, give it another good toss and remove from heat.

Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and sprinkle of Parmesan shavings.

An awesome dinner I tell you.

No comments:

Post a Comment