17 March 2014

Irish Pasta - Thanks, Darina Allen !

Everyone else can have their Corned Beef, or Sprats or Colcannon or Irish Soda Bread today. I had my fair share over the weekend when our little church held its annual Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. Today, I relaxed and leafed through Darina Allen's cookbook called Forgotten Skills of Cooking to choose a simple dish from an Irish chef ... my own little celebration of the Emerald Isle and its influence in the foodie world. I learned about Darina Allen a couple years ago when I was involved in a blogging challenge that focused on female chefs and foodies that have been huge influences on food culture world-wide.

Darina Allen popped up on the list because of her influence on Ireland's embrace of small urban farmer's markets and the whole concept of reviving a 'buy local, buy seasonal' approach to shopping and cooking. She has championed the rise in small farmer's markets as well as becoming famous for her inn/restaurant/cooking school at Ballymaloe House in County Cork. That being said, I have enjoyed browsing her website and reading her cookbooks to learn new ways of dealing with venison, handling poultry, and playing with various dessert recipes.

But tonight, it was all about cheap chicken and some linguine ... the chicken legs and thighs are liberally sprinkled with herbs ad spices and roasted. When they are crusty and juicy, the skin is stripped and soaked in the roasting juices while the meat is cut from the bones and chunked. Soaked raisins and toasted pinenuts are added to the mix, and the whole mess is tossed with pasta noodles ... add the green herbs and liberal sprinkles of black pepper and you have a warm bowl of comfort!

 It was so very delish and super easy - dinner was on the table within an hour. That's my kind of weekday meal ... now, I think I'll savor a snifter of Drambuie in honor of  Darina, St. Patrick, my Irish ancestors, and Ireland.

Darina Allen’s Pasta with Roast Chicken, Raisins, Pinenuts, and Parlsey
note: ingredient amounts played with by Susan @ The Spice Garden

 Serves 4


4 -5 chicken thighs, drumsticks or a combination of each – bone-in, skin on
Salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 tbsp. rosemary leaves, chopped
1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
⅔ c. raisins, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
½ c. pine nuts, toasted and dabbed with 1 tsp. soft butter
½ c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ lb. linguine pasta

Making the Dish:

  1. Place the raisins in a measuring cup and top the cup off with very hot water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken pieces.
  3. Salt and pepper the chicken and lay them in the pan. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika and rosemary. Drizzle with just a bit more olive oil.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes letting the chicken skin get crusty crisp.
  5. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat. Turn them onto a small plate and melt the butter over them, tossing to coat them. Set aside.
  6. Bring a large pasta pot filed with salted water to the boil.
  7. While the pasta cooks, remove the chicken from the oven, strip the skin off the pieces and let it soak in the roasting juices. Remove the meat from the bones (reserve the bones for stock) and chop the meat into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat to the roasting juices and add the pine nuts, the drained raisins, and most of the copped parsley. Let everything soak a bit to let the spices meld.
  8. Optional- Chop the crispy skin into bite-sized bit and return to the mix OR remove the skin and just use the meat.
  9. Drain the al dente pasta, toss it into a large heated pasta bowl and add the chicken and raisin mixture. Toss to combine and top with the rest of the parsley and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.
  10. Serve piping hot with a side vegetable. 


  1. Now that looks delicious! Like you, I've had my fill of corn beef and cabbage also! Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

  2. Wow this pasta is so coloured and looks delicious!!!
    I love the pine nuts...they're perfect for this season.
    Have a lovely day

  3. Hmmmm...sounds so heavenly. I'm more than done with corn beef and cabbage, too. Didn't get my soda bread, though.


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