May 15, 2012

From “Jamie’s Italy” by Jamie Oliver

(Chicken & Mushroom Pasta Bake)

Serves 4


20g of dried porcini mushrooms
olive oil
4 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
350g of mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and torn
200ml white wine
455g dried spaghetti
500ml double cream
200g Parmesan cheese, grated
a sprig of fresh basil, leaves only, s&p


1.Preheat oven to 200C.  Put the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover.  Put to one side to soak for a few minutes.
2.Heat a big saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them gently in the oil.
3.Strain the porcini, reserving the soaking water, and add them to the pan with the garlic and fresh mushrooms.  Add the wine, with the strained porcini soaking water, and turn the heat down.
4.Simmer gently until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the wine has reduced a little.
5.Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions and drain well.
6.Add the cream to the pan of chicken, then bring to the boil and turn the heat off.  Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7.Add the drained spaghetti to the creamy chicken sauce and toss well.  Add three-quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil and stir well. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish or non-stick pan, sprinkle with half the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until golden brown, bubbling and crisp.
8.Divide between your plates, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese before serving.


La Femme Version:

I used 150g of fresh shitake mushrooms as a substitute for the dried porcini – perfect texture and flavour – and then just added a further 220g of mixed fresh mushrooms to complete that element of the ingredients.  My only tip when using wine in a recipe – use a reasonable drinking wine rather than cooking wine and certainly not something that has been in the fridge for weeks on end.  If you can’t bear to drink it then it won’t do anything for the recipe……..

Wine Matching:

This was first tested with my Wine Club on our Italian night.  As you would imagine we tried several Italian wines but in particular we thought this went extremely well with an Italian Chardonnay, Le Bruniche which had rested sur lie before bottling giving it depth and complexity.  However, a Sangiovese-based red wine, Sassetto which was reasonably earthy which suited the mushrooms in the recipe.  Bellissimo!

Le Vin:

Sassetto, ( Sangiovese), Villa Bagnolo,  di Romano DOC Superiore, Italy, 2009, MYR60


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