Nigella’s Chicken revisited (PPN)

summary: Nigella’s chicken (roast chicken, pine nuts, raisins, rosemary and parsley tossed in fresh egg noodles – based on Nigella Lawson’s Tagliatelle with Chicken from the Venetian Ghetto); information about Presto Pasta Nights; (click on image to see larger views and more photos)

Nigella's chicken As we were tucking into this the other night, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is my favourite.”

Ha. Sometimes I think I’m like Og from “Finian’s Rainbow”:

When I’m not near the pasta I love, I love the pasta I’m near!

Yes, indeed, Nigella’s Chicken is my favourite. (Even though we don’t call it “our favourite”. That label is reserved for the pasta featured for PPN last week….)

Mmm, Nigella’s Chicken!! I adore Nigella’s Chicken!

How can I not? Pieces of just-roasted chicken tossed with toasted pinenuts and raisins that have been sautéed in olive oil. With fresh rosemary (if we have it – dried rosemary if we don’t) and fresh parsley (if we have it) all tossed with T’s fresh egg pasta that have been cut into fettucine.

Now, I know some of you are going to say you don’t like raisins in your savoury dishes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You are wrong. The raisins add a wonderful sweetness every so often. Not cloying though. Oh my no. It’s like the sweetness of caramelized onion or roasted garlic.

Nigella says to use golden raisins. I confess that the very first time we tried Nigella’s chicken, I was QUITE reluctant to eat golden raisins. In fact I vied for Thompson raisins. As usual, my vote didn’t count. Golden raisins were used. I secretly planned to discreetly push them to the side of my plate.

I’ve never been a fan of golden raisins. They’re too big. Too squishy. Too sweet. And yet, as I dutifully tried just one raisin (face scrunched up, eyes not quite tearing, nose held and all ready to swallow as quickly as possible) I discovered to my very pleasant surprise that golden raisins are fantastic in this pasta dish.

So I was a little disturbed to realize that we didn’t have any golden raisins on hand the other night. We only had my personal favourite snacking raisin: the small dark Thompson raisin. Thompsons are not quite as sweet as golden raisins. And not quite as plump.

But, as it turns out, Thompson raisins work just as well as golden raisins in Nigella’s Chicken. And they’re very pretty too. I think Nigella would approve of the substitution.

Nigella's chicken Here are the recipes you need to make Nigella’s chicken:

  • recipes from OUR kitchen:
    » Nigella’s chicken (If you don’t have fresh rosemary, you can use dried rosemary leaves. They aren’t nearly as good as the fresh but they do add a nice touch. And, of course, the rosemary can be omitted entirely and the finished dish will still taste wonderful.)
    » fresh pasta (Please do try adding just a little wholewheat flour to your pasta dough. The resulting noodles are less reluctant to stick together.)

I’ll be very interested to hear which raisins you are going to use when you make Nigella’s chicken.

Shhhh!!! Don’t tell T that I’ve used such blurry photos snapped in too much haste just before dinner. But I really wanted to rave about Nigella’s chicken sooner rather than later. Please look at the photos out of the corners of your eyes to get a pretty good idea of how the dish looks.

Presto Pasta Nights - every FridayPresto Pasta Nights 156

Over three years ago, Ruth (Once Upon a Feast) created this weekly event for people to share their favourite pasta dishes. Sherra ( Our Taste of Life) is hosting this week.

For complete details on how to participate in Presto Pasta Nights (PPN), please read the following:

  • How to Join PPN
  • Who’s Hosting PPN?

edit 26 March 2010: Sherra has posted the roundup. Mmmmm… is it time to make dinner yet? (Which one should I make???)


Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Tagliatelle with Chicken from the Venetian Ghetto used to be online but, like so many things on the internet, the page has disappeared into the vacuum. The original recipe can be found in Lawson’s book How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food.

5 comments about “Nigella’s Chicken revisited (PPN)

  1. katie

    Raisins are slowly creeping into my life. I had a traumatic experience as a child – snitching a hot chocolate chip cookie when my aunt wasn’t looking, taking a big bite and (gasp) discovering it was the dreaded oatmeal raisin. (My mother didn’t put raisins in her oatmeal cookies) After snitching it I had no choice but to eat it…. It was awful. Such a crushing disappointment.
    I still don’t like them in cookies, but have learned to tolerate them in bread – savory actually works better for me.
    Great tip on the whole wheat flour and pasta!

  2. Reeni

    I have to admit I never tried raisins in a savory dish. But you reminded me of a chicken dish I have bookmarked with golden raisins. I love them – much better than the dark raisins. Last time I came by your pasta reminded me of a dish I had bookmarked too! I couldn’t remember where I had seen it until I followed your comment today back to here. I would love to try those special chiles – the Senise ones. And I would love to try this pasta! I’m curious about the raisins.

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