Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Spaghetti with chicken and black pepper sauce

I wondered whether I should post a pasta recipe but having posted so many pasta recipes I have been wondering what is left. I know a lot of people know how to make pasta Aglio olio so checked Pinterest for inspiration. I found a very simple one called Cacio e Pepe, meaning cheese and pepper. In the original recipe, it is just pasta, usually, something like spaghetti tossed in lots of black pepper and pecorino cheese.
Now pecorino and parmesan is pretty expensive and with the lockdown in place and slow pace of deliveries, I didn't want to use any of those cheese. So I turned towards processed cream cheese spread which is always stashed in my fridge. If you don't have any, just leave the cheese out, use a knob of butter when sauteing the garlic along with the olive oil.

The chicken, I added because I wanted this to be my main meal for dinner and needed some protein. I used two chicken breast pieces from a 450g pack,

I will use the remaining two chicken breast pieces to make something like clay pot chicken rice or fried rice or even toss into some noodles.

I used whole black peppercorns, roasted them and then ground them, not too fine and not too coarse either. Freshly ground pepper really elevates this dish, I mean its called the pepper sauce for a reason.

So while the pasta cooked I  browned the chicken and then removed it. Then added more olive oil heated it with some garlic in it.

 Once the garlic starts to give off a delicious garlicky smell, added some lime juice, scrapped the bottom of the pan to remove all the tasty bits of chicken left at the bottom. Then added some roasted ground pepper. Returned the chicken and also 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and a teaspoon of my secret ingredient.

 Stir everything in and then tossed in the spaghetti. Added a little more pasta water to loose it up and serve it immediately.

Yield: 4
Author: Nammi

Spaghetti with chicken and black pepper sauce

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 40 mins


  • 3/4 of a   (500g)packet of spaghetti
  • water  and salt to cook pasta
  • 200g boneless, skinless chicken breast piece, cut into small pieces
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp processed cream cheese spread 
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • tiny pinch of salt (depends on taste)


  1. Place the peppercorns in a dry frying pan and place over low heat and toast the peppercorns till you get a toasty peppery smell, remove and grind in a spice grinder. Set aside
  2. Place a large pot of water with about quite a fair amount of salt ( supposedly it has to taste like the sea)  bring to a boil and add the spaghetti and cook till al dent', remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta to a colander.
  3. Season the chicken with 1/4 tsp of salt.
  4. Heat the frying pan again with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and once its hot add the chicken and stir fry till it starts to turn golden. Remove to a bowl. 
  5. Return pan back on medium heat add the extra 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the garlic and saute the garlic till it looses its raw smell and starts to give out a delicious aroma. 
  6. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime into a bowl and add this into the pan, and using the wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the little bits of chicken stuck at the bottom. 
  7. Add 2 level teaspoons of the ground black pepper, prepared earlier, and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. 
  8. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese, stir and then add the spaghetti and toss it in, adding a little more pasta water to loosen up the pasta and create a little more sauce. 
  9. Serve immediately or as soon as possible. 

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