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Prosciutto, Pesto and Chicken Pasta

by Jo Scarratt-Jones from Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals

This easy, budget-friendly recipe for Pesto and Chicken Pasta with tasty Italian ham from the team behind Eat Well For Less is a foolproof midweek dinner that the whole family will enjoy.

From the book

Jo Scarratt-Jones, Gregg Wallace, Chris Bavin


This recipe uses the Super Veggie Passata from page 135 of Eat Well for Less. You can omit the pesto in the chicken for those that don’t like it – and keep it in for those that do!

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4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tsp pesto
4 slices prosciutto, each cut in half widthways
240g dried penne pasta
400g Super Veggie Passata (see below)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mixed salad leaves, to serve
For the Super Veggie Passata (makes 3 batches):
2 large onions, quartered
2 celery sticks, each cut into 6 chunks
1 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and each cut into 6 chunks
2 large courgettes, each cut into 6 chunks
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato purée
3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
½ tsp sea salt, plus extra for the pasta
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Essential kit

You will need: a blender, or a hand-held stick blender.

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First, make the Super Veggie Passata:

1. Tip the onions and celery into a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped. Heat a sauté pan until hot, add the olive oil and chopped onions and celery and fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until just softening, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, tip the garlic, carrots and courgettes into the processor and blitz until they are roughly chopped too. Add them to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the oregano and tomato purée to the pan and mix well, then tip in the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Season with the salt and some black pepper.

4. Remove from the heat and either carefully decant in batches into a blender, or use a hand-held stick blender in the pan, and blitz to a fine purée.

5. Set aside to cool, then decant any passata you’re not using straightaway into two or three airtight/freezerproof containers, dividing it evenly among them, and transfer to the fridge or freezer.

For the Prosciutto, Pesto and Chicken Pasta:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.

2. Cut each chicken thigh in half to leave you with eight pieces. Lay the chicken thighs on a board, the side up that the skin would have been on. Spread ½ teaspoon of the pesto over the top of each thigh, then wrap each one in a piece of prosciutto, folding it around so the seam is underneath.

3. Place the wrapped chicken thighs on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15–20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (see Tip).

4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, then add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain in a colander.

5. While the pasta drains, pour the passata into the pan and heat through gently until hot, then return the pasta to the pan, stir through the passata and season to taste with black pepper.

6. Divide the pasta and sauce among four serving bowls and serve with the roast chicken on top and some mixed salad leaves alongside.

Tip: To check that the chicken is cooked, either gently press a piece with your finger – it should spring back, or pierce a piece with a temperature probe – the internal temperature should be 74°C. Alternatively, cut a piece of chicken in half and ensure the meat is cooked and white all the way through and hot to touch.

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From the book: Eat Well for Less: Quick & Easy Meals

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