Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pasta with chicken, lentil and spinach

I failed my 2007 challenge miserably last week (shame on me) but I'm back on track this week with this slightly unusual pasta dish. Pasta and lentils seemed like a weird combination to me at first but then I remembered how much I had liked the pasta e fagioli, a similar combination, so I give this one a try and I loved it. If you leave the chicken out - and I might just do that the next time - it's a bit like a vegetarian bolognese, filling and healthy and any leftovers make great lunchbox fare. Surprisingly, the recipe comes from a book called Recettes minceur, originally published in English under the title Low-fat Meals in Minutes but don't let that put you off - it's nothing like a boring diet meals but very, very good.

Pasta with chicken, lentil and spinach (serves 4)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 150g minced chicken or finely chopped chicken breast
  • salt and pepper
  • 100g red lentils
  • 680 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 250g fresh spinach
  • 375g pasta - conchiglie work well
Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan and fry until browned. Add the tomato purée, lentils and stock. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft. In the meantime, cook the pasta. Add the spinach to the lentils and let it wilt. Add the pasta and mix until well combined.

This is one of these great recipes where the quantities given are more of a guideline. I used more lentils and less pasta, about half and half. If you have unexpected guests you could easily "expand" this to serve more people by adding lentils or pasta.

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