Who doesn’t love a quick, flavourful meal? As much as I LOVE playing with my food, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to get dinner on the table in double quick time, ALL THE WHILE experimenting with flavours and finding new ways to make food more delicious and more fun!
This Italian Chicken Pasta Stir-fry is one of those meals!
Some days you just don’t know where time goes. That’s true no matter who you are, what you do. And when you’re a food blogger, working on a cake recipe and you’re testing it, developing it, baking it, taking pictures of it and putting together a post so it can see the light of day at some point in the near future, dinner time can sneak up on you like an inattentive driver on the road. This super tasty and super easy meal came to be on one of those days.
Over the years, my go-to meal in a hurry has always been some kind of stir fry. Having eaten a lot of curries while growing up, I even surprise myself these days by how often and how much I eat stir-fries. Maybe it’s because how easy it is, or how quick it is, or how flexible it is, or how flavourful the results can still be. I mean you can basically add whatever combination of spices and get delicious results every time. It’s also a great way to clean out your fridge.
And as much as I love to experiment, I’m yet to meet a stir-fry that I didn’t like. On this day however, I was rather horrified to find out that I didn’t have any soy sauce at home – my key ingredient in almost all of my stir-fries. And that of course called for a change of plans. I looked in the fridge and noticed that I had been hoarding quite a bit herbs. I usually buy more than my fair share of herbs and keep them hydrated in the fridge because I use them a lot in my cooking. They make anything taste just that much better. So lots of herbs + stir-fry + hungry husband = killer Italian Chicken Pasta Stir-fry!
The second best thing about this dish is that it’ll be ready in under 30 minutes. The best thing of course is just how insanely flavourful it is! So much herby flavour! And the chicken stir-fry is SO versatile, you can use it in so many ways. So far, we’ve tried this Italian chicken stir-fry in 5 different ways – with pasta, with rice, on homemade pizza, on toast and in salads. Pasta was probably my favourite. Which makes sense I guess. I mean pasta is Italian after all. So it makes sense that it works so well with Italian chicken.
So here I put all the herbs in the processor with the other spices to make a kick-ass paste. Then I made a stir-fry with chicken and added this paste instead of all the other Asian spices that I would normally add. So basically I flavoured the chicken with Italian flavours, and cooked it with a quick and easy Asian style of stir frying. The results are just glorious! And that amazing smell when you prepare the stir-fry – oh man! Before I knew it, dinner was ready, and hubby was digging into his pasta. It was such a great hit, we made it again. And again. And again.
Italian Chicken Pasta "Stir-fry"
Italian Herb Paste
- 2 oz flat leaf parsley 1 big bunch - leaves and stems
- Leaves of 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 oz of basil stems and leaves
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper reduce or leave it out if you like it less spicy
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 of a medium red onion thickly sliced
- 2 tsp crushed chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp of red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp white sugar optional, helps to bring out more flavour
- 1/4 cup water or just enough to create a paste
- 2 large chicken breasts cut into strips and thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- 1 - 2 tbsp oil
- 8 oz of spaghetti dry weight
To Serve (optional)
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- Parmesan cheese
- Boil a big pot of water with a generous amount of salt in it, for the pasta. When it reaches a boil, add the pasta and cook for 1-2 minutes LESS than what the instructions say - this is because it will cook further with the chicken later - you don't want it to be overcooked and mushy.
- While the pasta is cooking , add all the ingredients for the herb paste into a small processor (without water) and process until everything is finely chopped and forms a paste. Add some water to facilitate this if needed.
- Finely slice the chicken breast and set aside.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and set aside.
- In a large non-stick pan or wok-like pan, add the oil and heat over med-high to high heat. When it's hot, add the chicken and a generous pinch of salt. Let the chicken sit for a few seconds on high heat (to get a little browning on one side), and then add the herb paste. There should be a sizzle, and like you would do for a stir-fry, move the chicken around the pan to coat it with the herb paste. After about 5 minutes, the chicken should be just cooked through. If the chicken is dry, add about a 1/4 cup of water. Add salt to taste.
- Add the pasta at this point, lower the heat to medium and mix it with the chicken and herb mix well. Heat for about 2 more minutes, till pasta is al dente,
- Serve pasta with generous shavings of Parmesan and Ricotta cheese.
Tips & Tricks
If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal and you’re not ready to skimp on flavour, you need to add this delicious Italian Chicken Pasta Stir-fry to your rotation. You just cannot go wrong with all those herbs. All that parsley, basil and thyme pack a wonderfully fresh and earthy flavour, and of course a great fragrance. Then you get a little bite from the crushed chilli. And then a little tang, a little sweetness and a whole lot of creaminess from the ricotta. You can maybe even add a nice side of halved cherry tomatoes.
No one will believe you made this in under 30 minutes.
This is magic on a dinner plate.
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