SPANISH CHORIZO CHICKEN PASTA
If you want an easy, quick, week-night dinner that works perfectly for meal prepping or is great as leftovers for a packed lunch, then add this one to your repertoire. My Creole works perfectly with the Chorizo and brings a slight warmth to the dish.
I am an avid fan of walking in nature; it just makes me feel good and there is a walk called the Way of St James, or 'El Camino de Santiago', that takes you from the south of France over the Pyrenees mountains and ends up in Finisterre in the north west of Spain which translates as ‘end of the earth’. It’s a roughly 900 kilometre walk, and I enjoyed it so much I have done it three times - once alone, once with my siblings and once with my wife.
I came across this dish at many of the refuges you stay in along the way. The host brings out a large bowl and serves it to a communal table to be shared with a glass of wine, all for a small donation, usually as little as 5 Euros. I have had some wonderful conversations at these tables and highly recommend taking a couple of months off and doing this walk once travel opens up again. It will transform your life as it has mine.
This part of Spain is famous for its wine region of Rioja and the smoky chorizo works well with a Rioja, which normally can’t stand up to the acidity of tomatoes, but because they are mellowed by the addition of the cream, the Rioja is well balanced here. If you don’t like red, a light fruity Semillon Blanc or a Chenin Blanc works well, as they are rich enough to carry the sauce, but fresh enough to balance the smoky notes. Interestingly, a dry cider such as Eighth Day cider from Tamborine Mountain's Witches Falls winery works well too.
Did you know chorizo is one of the most popular and highly consumed food products in Spain? It is an air-cured sausage which is mainly made from minced pork. In Spain, for a chorizo to be considered as such, it must contain garlic and paprika (mild or hot). It is common for both ends to be joined by a piece of string. Because it is cured, its consistency is compact and firm. It has a rough surface and the paprika gives it an intense red colour. Its aroma and flavour are intense and, at the same time, well-balanced, with a pleasant texture on the palate. Be sure to use the best chorizo you can find as it will make a huge difference. Note they can be mild or spicy so choose wisely depending on your taste.
PREP TIME: 10 mins
COOKING TIME: 20 mins
2 chorizos, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 red capsicum, chopped into 1cm chunks
1 yellow capsicum, chopped into 1cm chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into 3cm chunks
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1-2 tbsps CREOLE (to taste)
400g penne pasta
1 cup thickened cream
1 cup fresh baby spinach
50g grated parmesan
Few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
Peel and chop the onion, then chop the capsicums and set to one side.
Slice the chorizo into disks on an angle to create more surface area.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add the chorizo and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the chopped onion and capsicum and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl, and place pan back on the heat, when hot add more olive oil.
Add the chicken to the pan and fry one side in the oil for 2 minutes until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and CREOLE; stir together until aromatic (less than 1 minute)
Add back into the pan the contents of the bowl and stir.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Bring to a simmer and then cook gently, stirring often.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add a tablespoon of salt, then pour in the pasta.
Add the pasta to the tomato sauce mixture and pour in the thickened cream.
Stir everything together until well coated.
Bring back to the boil and stir through baby spinach and allow to wilt.
Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan and garnish with chopped parsley and perhaps a glass or two of Rioja.