This recipe is more than just a nod in Nigella’s direction – it is just a more vegetable-heavy version of her Pasta Risotto with Peas and Pancetta (from her book ‘Nigellissima’). But more about the vegetables later: let’s start with the chicken.
Get the biggest chicken you can find and rinse it inside and out. Whizz up a small handful of sage, parsley and thyme in the processor with a shallot and a clove of garlic. Squeeze the sausage meat out of three large sausages, then mix this with the shallot mix and some freshly grated nutmeg. Stuff this into your chicken, then place in a large ovenproof, lidded dish. Drizzle the skin with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Pour in a glass of white wine and half a pint of water.
Put in the oven (170 – 180 degrees, lid on) for about two hours. Give it a really good basting after an hour and add another half pint of water for the remaining hour. When the legs wobble readily and the juices run clear, it’s probably done (unless your oven isn’t an even cooker, then eek! Proceed with caution!)
And now for the vegetables and pasta. You want the pasta that looks like rice: if it says ‘pasta a riso’ on the packet, you’re in business.
Fry 2 finely sliced leeks in olive oil with a crushed garlic clove until quite soft. Add four slices of streaky bacon, diced, and fry for a further five minutes. Add 2 sliced courgettes, a little salt and pepper, and fry for a further couple of minutes. Trim about 200g of tenderstem broccoli – slice up half of the stalk, and leave the rest looking pretty. Add the stalky bits to the pan. Now add a small cup of peas and about 350g of pasta a riso. Stir well, then add about 800ml water. Throw in a chicken stock cube. Stir well, place the broccoli heads on top and nudge the bottom of the pan from time to time to check that the pasta is not sticking. Lid on, ten minutes, or according to the instructions on the packet.
When time’s up, add a couple of tablespoons of parmesan and flat leaf parsley.
If you fancy a bit of sauce with your chicken, boil up the liquid that the chicken cooked in with a teaspoonful of mustard, whisking as you go. Add a couple of spoonfuls of double cream if you want. It will separate, so keep stirring.