Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking.
And I know that having a young family and a job and a blog and a side business probably gives me enough to do that I’m allowed to be lazy sometimes, but I want you to know that even I – someone who loves cooking and would happily give up their office job to do it all day long – really can’t be bothered putting a great deal of effort into dinner sometimes. That’s where this meal comes in. Born from a mixture of hunger, laziness and exhaustion (mixed with a healthy dose of I-hate-doing-dishes-so-lets- try-to- keep-them-to-a-minimum…) this dish has joined the regular weekly rotation in our house due to it being easy, tasty and healthy. I give you: One-Pot Chicken Pasta.
This meal is the ultimate winter weeknight dish. Fry off veg, throw remaining ingredients in pot, simmer until cooked with the occasional stir. It’s comforting and hearty, healthy and wholesome, and on the table in 30 minutes. And did I mention the lack of dishes? Because seriously, it’s a pretty major selling point for me. ONE DIRTY DISH, PEOPLE – THAT’S IT.
I have made this a number of times now using different tomato sauce bases: a jar of store-bought pasta sauce, a bottle of tomato puree (passata) and tinned chopped tomatoes. All three options turned out beautifully and were delicious. I tend to steer clear of store-bought pasta sauce as they generally contain absurd amounts of added sugar and salt, but if that’s what you have/want to use well then you rock it with pride. The use of store-bought sauce every now and again won’t kill you, but if you end up making this as often as I have started doing then I’d recommend using plain tinned or pureed tomatoes most of the time – the unexpected calories and unnecessary sugars can quickly start adding up. I’ll write the recipe below for plain passata, so if you’re using store-bought sauce you probably won’t need to add as many additional flavour boosters (unless you want to, in which case you go right ahead! Ride that train to Flavour Town!).
You could substitute the chicken for whatever protein you like or have on hand, you could also leave the meat out and add lentils in its place for a hearty vegetarian/vegan option. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent this is amazing topped with béchamel sauce, but then again what isn’t…It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s chock full of nutrients and my family love it. One-Pot Chicken Pasta is the answer to my inner lazy girl’s prayers, and hopefully yours too.
One-Pot Chicken Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh red chilies, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
2 medium capsicums, diced
1 large eggplant, diced
1 large chicken breast, minced or finely sliced
1 x 700mL jar tomato passata
2 chicken stock cubes
2 tbsp mixed herbs (I used Italian Mixed Herbs but you can use whatever you like/have)
250g wholemeal penne
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
100g baby spinach
1) Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and fry for 5 minutes or until softened.
2) Add garlic and chilli and fry for 2 minutes, then add zucchini, capsicum and eggplant and fry for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add chicken and cook until starting to change colour.
3) Pour in the passata, then refill the jar with water and add to the pot with stock cubes and mixed herbs. 4) Add the pasta then give everything a good stir. Make sure the pasta is completely covered by the liquid, if not add just enough water until it is.
5) Bring to the boil, then cook on a medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the vegetables are soft. There should be just enough liquid remaining to make a thick sauce that coats the pasta and vegetables, if not then cook a little longer.
6) Stir through the olives and baby spinach and serve immediately.
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