Creamy Homemade Fettuccine Carbonara

photoThis pasta dish is creamy, satisfying and so easy to make. I smother it with crumbled Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley, and serve piping hot with crusty bread. The sauce for this dish can be blended with any pasta  – you can use it with spaghetti, fettucine, linguine, raviloi, tortellini, gnocci, the options are endless. For a vegetarian option you can replace the chicken and bacon with sauteed button mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes, and add 2 Tbsp of Pesto to the sauce for an interesting flavour combination.

500g Fettucine

2 Large skinless chicken breasts, roasted and shredded

4 Rashers Streaky Bacon

1 Large onion, finely diced

2 cloves crushed garlic

Parsley

300ml Cream

50g Butter

4 Tbsp flour

Grated/shaved Parmesan Cheese to taste

Salt & Pepper

Saute onion in a pan with a knob of butter until soft. Add diced bacon bits, cook.

Remove bacon and onion, leaving the bacon fat and butter from the onion in the pan. This will add flavour to your sauce.

Add butter to the pan, melt. Rub the flour into the butter, cook for 1 minute.

Gradually add cream, mixing well between additions. Slowly the mixture will become more of a sauce, and less of a big pile of goo.

Keep adding cream until you are happy with the consistency. Add Parmesan to thicken & flavour. This will melt into the sauce.

Add a pinch of salt & a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper.

Add cooked shredded chicken,  bacon bits & onion. Cook  for 5 minutes, adding more cream or Parmesan until desired consistency is achieved.

Boil Water, splash with olive oil and add a dash of salt. The oil will prevent your pasta from sticking. Add pasta, cook until al dente.

Mix your sauce with the pasta, serve in large pasta bowls covered with a generous amount of grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Bon Apetit!

(in this photo I have used spring onion instead of parsley – which is just as yummy!)

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Parmesan and bacon crusted chicken with basil cream sauce.

basil pestoThis is an absolute crowd pleaser, and I receive so many comments about how good it tastes. It can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, and then banged into the oven 45mins before serving. I like to serve it with a baby cos lettuce salad, topped with sliced avocado & toasted pine nuts.

The Basil cream sauce is the key to this dish – and it is so easy. If you make it too runny, you can add some sour cream just before serving to thicken it up, or add some Parmesan cheese while it is on the heat. You can be creative with this sauce, as long as the cream and basil are the key ingredients you really cannot go wrong. Fresh Basil is preferred, but if you cannot find this fresh, a pottle of ground pesto or even pesto dip will suffice. Add more or less basil depending on how strong you want your sauce. I like a lot.

I feel a bit like a protective mother parting with this recipe, I have kept it to myself for so long – but it is time. Spread your wings basil chicken, you have so much joy to give!

Serves 6

Parmesan and bacon crusted chicken

6 x large skinless, boneless chicken thighs

100g butter, melted

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

4 Rashers streaky bacon, diced

3/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs (home-made are the best.)

Basil cream sauce

75g butter

4-5 Tbsp flour

500ml cream

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded (or 4 Tbsp  pesto)

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Preheat Oven to 180C. Line an oven proof dish with baking paper, and fill with chicken thighs.

Heat butter in a saucepan with mustard, stir until combined. Pour over chicken.

Sprinkle chicken with diced bacon, then the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, making sure each thigh is well covered.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the crust is golden.

Just before you remove the chicken from the oven, begin making your basil cream sauce.

Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour to make a rue, this will give you a good base for your sauce.

Cook the butter and flour together for around 30 seconds, then add cream gradually, stirring with a whisk after each pour. Make sure the rue combines with the cream, mixing well is key.

Add the basil, and simmer for 5 minutes. If you want a thicker sauce, you can add parmesan into the mixture while simmering, or stir through sour cream/whipped cream after the sauce has been taken off the heat.

Let the chicken cool for 5 minutes  and serve with generous amounts of basil cream sauce.