When cooking for oneself, it can be hard to decide what to do with meat. In my freezer, I have a plenitude of individual chicken breasts, pairs of sausages, and servings of minced beef, to be defrosted when required. But when I just want a quick meal for one, with meat, I feel as though there’s not a huge variety of choice. Sure, I could stir-fry some chicken or roast a few sausages easily; but I feel as though I’m beginning to exhaust my options.
So, I’ve been on the hunt for new ideas. I’ve made and frozen some meatballs to eat with any combination of other foodstuffs I fancy, and I’ve had a go at trying different seasonings on chicken, served with couscous and greens. But it is pasta, I find, that presents the ultimate fail-safe option for pairing with meat. Flicking through a cookbook, I discovered this recipe for chicken and courgette tagliatelle; as always, I chopped and changed a few things to suit what I had to hand.
- one boneless, skinless chicken breast
- half a courgette
- a few handfuls of frozen peas
- one garlic clove
- half a red chilli
- 1cm ginger
- a handful of coriander, and parsley too, if you have it
- 80g tagliatelle pasta
- a few knobs of butter
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, then start finely chopping the garlic, chilli, and ginger; then mix them altogether. Slice the courgette thinly.
Lay a piece of tin foil in a baking tray, and dot a smallish space with butter, followed by a sprinkling of the spice mix. Place the chicken breast onto this space, put on another layer of butter and spices, then wrap the foil up tightly into a parcel. Roast it in the oven for thirty minutes.
After about fifteen minutes, heat a few knobs of butter in a frying pan, and cook the courgettes until tender and slightly browned. I added the remaining spices to the pan about halfway through, along with most of the chopped coriander.
As the chicken reaches the point of being done, set a pan of water to boil, and cook the pasta – tagliatelle takes around seven to nine minutes. To boost the greens content here, feel free to throw in a few handfuls of frozen peas as the pasta approaches al dente.
Take the chicken out, and check that it’s cooked thoroughly, before cutting into bite-sized pieces. Drain the pasta and put it into a bowl; place the chicken and courgettes on top, with the rest of the herbs to garnish.
I enjoyed this with a few black olives, a sprinkling of feta cheese, and plenty of salt and pepper. The second time round, the chicken was cooked to perfection – tender, and flavoured well with the spices. So, a no-fuss chicken recipe, easy to make, and satisfying to eat!