Feeling under the weather? Fresher’s flu caught up with you at last? This vibrant and sharp last taste of summer will cut through congestion and replenish your ailing system with essential macronutrients to get you back on your feet to face the term ahead. Budget friendly and easy to make, this recipe will soon become your go-to comfort dish. Serves one, but easily doubled to share.
- 50g cream cheese
- 30g Parmesan
- Zest & juice of ½ lemon
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks or strips
- 100g spaghetti
- 50g spinach
- Firstly, in a mixing jug, beat together the cream cheese, parmesan and lemon zest and juice until smoothly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Set a saucepan filled with water to boil.
- In a frying pan, heat your olive oil on a medium hob setting before adding the chicken. You should brown the chicken for a good ten minutes, or until covered in a crisp, golden skin; this just adds a nice bit of texture to the finished dish. If you’re worried about whether it has cooked through properly or not, just cut one of the pieces in half; if the centre is white and tender, it’s done.
- Add salt to your saucepan full of water once it has come to the boil; if you add it before setting it on the heat, it will take longer to boil and waste energy – as well as delaying your much-needed food! Pop your spaghetti into the water and set a timer for eight minutes, or the cooking time specified on the packet.
- When your spaghetti has cooked, get your serving dish and pop it in an empty, clean sink. Drain your pasta’s cooking water into the dish; this has the dual purpose of heating up your bowl so that your food doesn’t go cold whilst you’re eating – never a nice thing, but worse when you’re ill – and saving some of that starchy water to make your sauce a little thinner and glossier. Set the water aside carefully.
- Tip the cooked spaghetti in with the cooked chicken and toss until coated in the leftover residue from the olive oil. Add in your spinach at this point, and allow to wilt as you finish the dish. Working quickly, add the cheese and lemon mix with a little of the pasta water to loosen it, and again toss until well combined. Add more water depending on desired consistency of sauce.
- Serve with a little extra Parmesan on top, and enjoy this veritable feast of protein, carbs and vitamins!
TIP: Don’t like spinach? Just swap it out for another nutrient-loaded green vegetable; the sweetness of peas can work really nicely with the sharpness of the lemon in this dish, and, as a bonus, they’re rich in Vitamin C. Just pop them in with the pasta for the final four minutes of its cooking time before draining.