This pasta dish is has a spin on the base pasta that is sure to satisfy the most health conscious mouths. Beautiful ribbons of hand-made spelt pappardelle flowing around chicken, fennel, vegetables and cream cheese mixed with herbs and spices. Drizzled with lemon juice for a final brightening note.
Ingredients (for four)
300g Spelt Flour
3 Large Eggs
5 Boneless, Skin-on chicken thighs
3 Tomatoes, roughly chopped.
2 Brown Onions, finely sliced
4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 Bulb of Fennel, finely sliced
2 Large Handfuls of Spinach Leaves
200g Cream Cheese
100g Sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Capers
3 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
Small Handful Fresh Oregano
Juice of 1 Lemon
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Take your chicken thighs out of the fridge and let them get to room temperature while you make the pasta.
Unless you've managed to find good quality spelt pasta, the best way forward is to make it. Luckily for us, it's really easy; it's just like normal pasta!
So first things first is to tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Create a large well in the centre of the spelt flour. Crack the three eggs into the well and pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Beat the eggs with a fork then gradually incorporate the flour into the mixture. When the fork can't mix anymore, get your hands in there and get kneading. If it's too stiff, add a little bit of water until the consistency is right.
Turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead it out until you have a nice smooth dough, that doesn't crack when pinched (if it does, its too dry, wet it and knead some more). Roll the dough out into sheets about size 6 thickness, then cut into pappardelle noodles. Hang out to dry.
Dry off the chicken thighs with a paper towel. Rub olive oil over each thigh, then sprinkle salt over the skin. Rub the salt into the skin, then transfer to a roasting dish. Put in the oven, about three quarters of the way up the oven for 25 minutes.
We'll get stuck into the onions/fennel next. In a large frying pan, pour a lug of olive oil. On a medium-high heat, fry the onions, garlic and fennel. Cook until wilted and soft, then turn up the heat to brown it. Once it starts to caramelize, take it off the heat.
Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Salt it really well. Once it's boiling rapidly, boil the pasta until tender. Drain, and toss through olive oil.
Check on the chicken. Once it's cooked through and the chicken skin is crispy, take it out of the oven. Tear it into chunks.
Toss the chicken with the caramelized onion/fennel, then mix it through the pasta so it's evenly distributed.
Mix the capers with the cream cheese, smoked paprika, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano, until it's well combined. Mix it through the pasta so it melts slightly and spreads evenly through the mixture.
Finally, mix through the spinach leaves, chopped tomatoes, and spritz with the juice of one lemon. Salt and pepper well to taste.