Pasta Hacks: Part Two

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As promised, I have two more pasta hacks for the Giovanni Rana ‘Make it My Way’ creative cook-up. The first one is a chicken pie using the Creamy Carbonara Sauce from the Italian Indulgence range of stir-in sauces. Sticking with the theme of convenience, I devised this super easy recipe for turning a pasta sauce into a deceptively simple and delicious pie. Simply slice up a leek and grate some asparagus and courgette into a small saucepan and saute with a bit of olive oil till the leeks have softened. Turn the heat off and then throw in some pre-cooked chicken pieces, I like to pick the meat off a cold, whole roast chicken. Stir through the Creamy Carbonara sauce. Fill a small ramekin with the creamy chicken mix and top with a piece of pre-rolled butter puff pastry. Use a little of the sauce left in the pot to brush over the pastry as a glaze and cut a flap for steam. Bake in a 180C oven until the pastry is dark brown and crispy. You can line the ramekin with pastry too, but you’ll have to blind bake it, otherwise you risk an uncooked – or as Mary Berry puts it – a soggy bottomed pie!

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The second meal uses the Pesto Sauce from the Simply Italian range. I usually make my own chicken pesto pasta using a jar of pesto, cream, cheese and shallots, so I was wondering if the kids would notice the difference when I served up their usual pesto pasta dish using the Giovanni Rana version. The store-bought sauce was as good, if not better than my own. The flavours were bright and perfectly balanced and with a few extra ingredients, you can whip this pasta up in no time at all.

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Using pre-cooked chicken pieces, stir in the cooked ribbed penne, adding the pesto sauce, frozen petit pois and a couple of mounds of frozen, chopped spinach. Stir until the spinach and peas have thawed and the sauce and chicken is warmed through. The sweetness of the peas in combination with the unique umami of pesto makes this meal really shine.

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