Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chicken, Tomato and Basil Pasta

Operation "use up everything in the house before moving" is in action. Were trying to only buy the basics and use up whatever we already have - sauces, fridge and freezer items!

So tonight I had a scour through the cupboards. I also had to take the effort factor into account. Could I be arsed really making anything complex? No not really. We've been going through our house throwing things out, packing up a few boxes and just organising the house for the move all day, so complex cooking was not on the cards.

I picked up half a bag of organic pasta, a bag of ripe organic tomatoes, and 2 massive free range chicken thighs and figured that these were the main things I needed to use today. The tomatoes weren't going to last much longer, and the chicken was a day off being dodgy, so I decided that it was chicken tomato pasta night!

Awesome organic box of veges!

For this sauce, it's important that you use GOOD tomatoes - don't bother making this if you have the floury, anaemic sorry excuses for tomatoes you see in the supermarket out of season. This is what you do with a glut of good quality, juicy, ripe, RED, delicious tomatoes, such as the heirloom varieties we found at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. These tomatoes, when you ate some from the little tasting bowl, stopped us both in our tracks. It was the best tomato I've ever had. I'm going to try and get some seeds next summer so I can try and grow some of my own - they were amazing, better than any tomatoes I've had here!

Also, make sure the handful of basil you use is a generous one, it makes a huge difference! If you can get it from someones garden then get that instead of the stuff from the supermarket, it's got SO much flavour! Its fragrance is so much stronger, it has the basil aroma that you recognise, but with a hit of aniseed. The supermarket bunches have nothing on home grown.

Chicken, tomato and basil pasta

1kg tomatoes, chopped
Small bunch of spring onions, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 chicken thighs
500g pasta
Handful of basil

NB - for this pasta sauce, you really don't need the chicken, but I wanted to use it up. It does add extra flavour, but the tomato sauce is special on its own as well! 

1) In a hot pan with oil (I use Cobram Estate Garlic Oil), fry the chicken thighs (whole) in the pan. Once they're almost done (time depends on the size of the thighs) turn the heat off and let them sit in the pan until you need them.
2) While the chicken is cooking, add the onions and garlic to a saucepan with some oil and gently fry them for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes.
3) Keep the heat med-high and you'll see the tomatoes start to break down and become much saucier. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, and cook until it becomes thicker and less watery, stirring occasionally.
4) The chicken  has cooked and rested by now, and so chop it up into pieces and return to the pan.
5) Add the sauce to the pan the chicken is in and give it a stir, making sure all the chicken juices are incorporated into the sauce! Season to taste.
6) Wash up the tomato saucepan and cook your pasta in it! Add plenty of salt to your cooking water to make sure your pasta is seasoned - it makes a big difference! In the time it takes for your pasta to cook (mine took 10mins) your chicken tomato sauce will reduced, hot and ready for the pasta.
7) Add in a generous handful of chopped basil, then pour in your drained pasta. Don't drain it too heavily, some of the starchy pasta water can go into the sauce to bring it all together. 
8) Give it a good stir and serve it up!

I served mine with a buttery homemade garlic bread which was heart attack inducing but amaaaazing!


  1. Oh I just love the colours beaming out of your organic veg box. I am soooo envious.

  2. yeah the veges are always gorgeous from where we get them from! So tasty!!

  3. I've never made a tomato based sauce from scratch, I didn't realise really how easy it was so now I am going to try this. Yay for the subi markets.

  4. Note to self no more supermarket tomatoes - I know exactly what you mean! Market fresh all the way baby. Good luck with the move. You're brave cooking at all when packing it can be pretty tiring. I see a goermout pizza delivery in your very near future ;)

  5. Lol Michelle there will DEF be a gourmet pizza at some stage this week! Were getting the keys on Thursday and so will be moving then, once the kitchen is packed up there will be no cooking at all!

    I haven't tried this recipe with canned toms but I imagine it would be better with them than with the hard white rocks you get from woolies!

  6. I agree about the extra flavour from someones garden. We have some on the balcony and I cant get enough of it :)

  7. Yeah our basil has a much stronger flavour than the stuff in the supermarket - its got much more aniseed in it, the other stuff is much softer, but our basil is really punchy! So glad I have it in the garden, its SO versatile! I have purple basil too which is really nice.