Friday, 13 February 2015

Fiery asparagus and chicken pasta

Give your pasta a fiery kick with this quick and easy pasta recipe. Chicken, bacon and asparagus in a spicy tomato sauce makes a delicious mid-week family dinner

  • 1 bundle asparagus
  • 4-5 chicken thighs, cut into 6 pieces
  • 100g smoked pancetta or bacon, cubed
  • 3-4 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped or 1 tsp chilli powder to taste
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 300g dried spaghetti pasta
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated


Trim the ends of the asparagus then chop the spears into 4-5 pieces.

Fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes in a hot pan with some oil then add the pancetta, shallots, garlic, chilli and rosemary and cook over a medium heat for a further 3-4 minutes.

Add the asparagus and chopped tomatoes then simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to the packets instructions in boiling salted water, drain then add to the sauce, grate over some Parmesan cheese before serving.

Mascarpone cheesecake


For the crust:

  • 75g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • 65g digestive biscuit crumbs
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 (225g) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 (225g) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

For the topping:

  • 120g chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella
  • 60ml double cream

For the crust: 

Preheat oven to 180C or 160C for fan oven. 
Tightly wrap the outside of a 22cm diameter springform pan with 7cm-high sides with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil.
 Finely grind the almonds, biscuit crumbs, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not on the sides of the pan). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 140C
For the filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
For the topping:
Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.
To serve, cut the cake into wedges. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the wedges.