Ok, let’s talk about comfort food. Sometimes you just need it, right? And the ultimate in comfort food for me is pasta.

This recipe has it all – carbs, creaminess, the smokiness from the chicken…I could go on… It’s also an easy one to do when you’re on an adventure – as long as you have a gas burner, a frypan and something to cook your pasta in, you’re right.

This should feed 4 people generously – or 6 if you’re not in quite that much need of comforting. You can usually get smoked chicken at most supermarkets, but if you can’t get it – or don’t want to go to the effort of it – a couple of chicken breasts will do the job nicely instead. You will, of course, have to cook them through before chopping them up and adding it to the sauce. Also sage can be difficult to get hold off – especially in country supermarkets. Make do with parsley – or maybe even basil – in need.

As an aside, the pesto is a handy jar to keep in your fridge/esky. A couple of tablespoons stirred through some cooked spaghetti with a handful of grated parmesan and maybe a squeeze of lemon makes for a super-quick meal.

What you need

  • 300g smoked chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp good quality pesto
  • 100ml white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 400ml cream
  • 150g peas, blanched in boiling water for a few minutes
  • 500g penne pasta
  • freshly grated parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve (optional)

What you do with it

Saute the chicken pieces in a little olive oil until golden. Set aside.

In a pan deep enough to take all the remaining ingredients and have room for stirring, saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the sage and pesto.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the chicken stock, cream and chicken, season to taste and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add the peas to the sauce and cook a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and drain.

Toss the pasta with the sauce.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve.

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