Aside from chocolate, there is only one other food on the planet above all others that comforts, satisfies and that I find incredibly hard to stop eating. Pasta. Spaghetti, tagliatelle, linguine, lasagna, fusilli, pappardelle (my favourite)…. I love it all and in practically all it’s formats. The one thing I don’t love about it is its inflexibility and refusal to be cooked in anything other than a saucepan full of hot boiling water. A problem when you have no hob. Stood in the pasta aisle the other week carefully studying every pasta packets cooking instructions willing them to be microwaveable, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. How was I going to have my regular fix of lasagna, bolognese, lamb ragu, chilli linguine, meatballs and pasta? In desperation and in need of pasta, I turned to Tesco’s ready meal section which at the time was risky and foolhardy being right in the middle of Horsegate. Pasta addicts will understand that when you need a carby Italian hit you’ll go to any length to get it. Suffice to say, it was an underwhelming experience and just cranked up my proper pasta craving to maximum. Sure, you can go out to a perfectly lovely Italian restaurant and have a delicious plate of cannelloni , but nothing beats a big, diet busting plate of your favourite lasagna in front of the TV on a chilly night. It’s the best kind of comfort food.
So thank Pasta God (I like to imagine Her as Sofia Loren who once said about her body “everything you see I owe to spaghetti”. My kind of woman) for Pinterest and its glorious search function which led me to a slow cooker pasta dish that sounded right up my street: slow cooker chipotle chicken tortellini. Not very Italian I know, but I jumped at the chance to cook it. All you have to do is poach the chicken in some stock (this takes about 3 hrs in the slow cooker), shred it once cooked then add cream cheese, chipotle paste, broccoli and cumin and cook for another couple of hours. Simple! Chipotle paste is now fairly easy to come across in the more exotic supermarket aisles and is made up of smoked chillies and some other stuff. Not sure what exactly, but it tastes spicy, smoky and makes me think of Mexico and the Deep South of America. I used the most Southern looking tortellini I could find in the, er, Italian aisle and that came to be sausage and ham. It worked damn fine actually. While I’d have preferred the sauce a little thicker, it was still creamy and smooth with a hot kick from the chipotle. The only problem I had was the broccoli was totally inedible from being in the slow cooker for two hours, next time I’d only put it in for about half hour as that’s really all it needs. But still, I’ve finally found a way to cook pasta at home. Now if anyone knows how I can cook spaghetti in a slow cooker please tell me, I’m desperate for a bolognese hit!
PS: Here’s the recipe if you’re interested: http://picky-palate.com/2013/03/04/slow-cooker-creamy-chipotle-chicken-tortellini/