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Bahamian beauty: Creamy Chicken Tagliatelle with Tenderstem

Creamy chicken tagliatelle with tenderstem

A clear 15 years before Nashville was a hit TV show I used to go there for the craziest of summer jobs. It was the hardest yet rewarding job and I am amazed that British students would sign up for a job to work 80 hrs a week, commission only, selling educational books door to door in America but we did it in our hundreds!! Each summer about 300 students flew out to Nashville (and about 3000 US students) to do this job during the 12 week holiday and I did this for 5 summers!!

Now, what the fuss free has that got to do with today’s blog I hear you ask!?! Well, despite the hard work, building character and paying for those hedonistic uni days, there was always a chance to have some down time in Nashville and then go on some travels.

A short 2 hrs or so from Nashville is the Bahamas…..it seemed rude not to pay a visit being so close! Under British rule, until 1973 (hence the red post boxes!) the Bahamas is now an independent Island….a beautiful one at that! Now, this trip was only for a few days, and apart from the amazing beaches, the meal that inspired this recipe is my other lasting memory!

I mean, it’s nothing fancy and not native to the Bahamas for sure…..it just checks a lot of boxes! Creamy cheese sauce, spiked with intense sun-dried tomatoes, succulent chicken and of course pasta…well, tagliatelle. A perfect comfort food on an evening. I have recreated it on and off over the years, and it doesn’t fail to please….so I thought I’d share it with you! Again, it’s one where you could do a little prep ahead of time, and then for the time it takes to cook the pasta, it will then be ready.

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the Fuss Free Foodie FB group. Don’t forget to give a little like, share or comment to keep me in your feed. If you are on Instagram or Twitter….find me on there too! Thanks for reading and enjoy! Lisa

Creamy chicken tagliatelle with Tenderstem

Serves 2

35g plain flour
35g butter
350ml milk warmed but not mandatory just helps blend better
100-125g cheese, grated (Cheddar, Gouda or Gruyere)
1 tsp English mustard (optional but brings out cheese flavour and colour)
200g tagliatelle
1 chicken breast, diced 2cm sq (approx 170g)
200g Tenderstem broccoli, 3-4cm pieces
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper
Chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Make the cheese sauce (can be done ahead of time or whilst the pasta is cooking). Melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the flour and stir together for a few minutes to cook out the flour.
  2. With whisk at the ready, add all the milk and whisk like crazy for a minute until all smooth. Stir with a spoon, and cook for a few minutes. Add the mustard if using, and cheese. When the cheese has melted season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Tenderstem in a basket ready for steaming over the pasta as it cooks. Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water, and cook according to the packet instructions. Pop the basket over the pasta pan to steam broccoli for 7-9 mins, depending on the thickness of the stalks (just nibble a bit to see when done!)
  4. Whilst this is cooking, get a frying pan with a little oil in it ready to fry the chicken. Season and fry for 7-8 mins, so that it is still tender and juicy, but not pink in the middle.
  5. When the pasta is cooked drain it and retain 2 tbsps of cooking water in the pan. Add 2-3 ladles of the cheese sauce over the pasta and coat the pasta with the sauce.
  6. Then add the Tenderstem, the cooked chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir and serve. Sprinkle with chilli flakes if desired.

Forget the fuss…
1. If the chicken breast is fat at one end and thin at the other, I take a rolling pin to it to make it more even!
2. No steamer? Pop in the pan with the pasta for the last 5 minutes of cooking time
3. No Tenderstem? Purple sprouting would work or even wilt in some spinach instead. Pour boiling water over spinach in a colander, and then throw it in after you have coated the pasta in cheese sauce.

Care to share....?
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