One of my favourite things to do when home alone is to go on the tablet and read the entire archive of a food blog. Why, you may ask, the answer being that I am fascinated by how other people cook and write, it inspires me.
One such afternoon brought me to Ree Drummond. As well as a wonderful cookery show on Food Network, she also has a fantastic blog, The Pioneer Woman. On this site, Ree shares her life as, in her own words, an accidental country girl. Most of the recipes on the show are featured on the blog, and that was how I discovered the original recipe of this; Chicken Florentine Pasta.
The bowlful of deliciousness in the photo above, I cooked one night when Mum had liver and bacon (not one of my favourite meals), and we had a couple of chicken thighs that needed to be used. So I stuck on some music, and cooked this. An adaptation of Mrs Drummond’s recipe. I didn’t stick to her original recipe. At no point did I add white wine, nor did I add cream. I made do with what I had, and it turned out good. So good, I jotted it down in my chef’s book*.
I’ve named it Pollo Florentine Pasta because I think it sounds cooler. (Pollo is chicken in Italian, by the way.) When I say Florentine in reference to this dish, I mean it has spinach in it. I think it also means that it comes from the Florence region of Italy. I may be entirely wrong here dear reader, I’m not an intellectual food writer like Elizabeth David, Claudia Roden or Anna Del Conte. I’m just Jack Knight, a cook who knows fuck all, but I am eager to learn.
*A chef’s book is basically a notebook any chef keeps by their side through out their career, in which they write down any recipe that they’re given.
Pollo Florentine Pasta – adapted from Ree Drummond
(I’m giving you the measures as per person, as that is how I’ve written it in my book.)
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs per person, cut into bite size chunks
Onion, I’d say half to one small onion per person, finely chopped
A little garlic
250ml chicken stock per person
A handful cherry tomatoes per person
Freshly milled black pepper
A pinch of chilli flakes, to taste
100g pasta per person
A handful of fresh spinach, per person
In a hot pan, brown the chicken pieces in a little oil, in batches, when browned place on a plate lined with kitchen towel to drain. Set this aside.
In the same pan, using a little more oil, cook the onion and garlic until softened and golden. Add the stock and tomatoes, season with the pepper and chilli. Return the chicken, and allow to cook for about ten minutes, until cooked through. Give it a stir every now and then, and if it looks like it’s going a bit dry, add more liquid. When cooked, the tomatoes will have released their juices, and reduced down. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain, saving a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce, throw on the spinach and toss everything together, using some of the pasta water to loosen everything if it needs it.