Chicken & Spinach Risotto of Pasta

By Chef Joris Larigaldie

The school year has officially started, and that means even the youngsters are on a schedule these days. Dinner is a great time to gather everyone around the table and spend some quality time together. With this recipe, you can catch up after a busy day and enjoy a savoury meal that is sure to please the whole family.

This is a very simple but rewarding recipe for sumptuous roasted chicken with a spinach risotto of pasta. Inexpensive ingredients like pasta and spinach keep money in your wallet and provide cushion for investing in good quality, free range chicken. I hope you give it a go and enjoy the results. Cheers!

Serving size: 4
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours


For the chicken
1 free range chicken
1 onion roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb
2 carrots
Thyme and rosemary

For the pasta
1/3 kilo of riso pasta (or other small shaped pasta)
1/3 bottle dry white wine
1 garlic clove finely diced
1 onion finely diced
300 grs of baby spinach

TO COOK THE CHICKEN, preheat your oven to 210C. In your roasting dish, place the carrots, garlic bulb, and onion. Make an island of your vegetables in the centre of the roasting dish and put your chicken on top of it. Boil a full kettle of water and pour into the roasting dish until it covers the vegetable island and the water reaches the bottom of the chicken.

Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt and one pinch of pepper over the bird, and place the dish in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the thyme and rosemary to the cooking water. When the meat is ready, take it out of the oven. Place the chicken on a carving board and sieve the liquid in the dish into a saucepan. Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil on low heat.

FOR THE RISOTTO OF PASTA, start by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add one clove of garlic and one onion, both finely diced. After a couple of minutes of softening them up, deglaze the pan with the third of a bottle of the dry white wine. Drink the rest at your own discretion.

When almost all the liquid has evaporated, add the pasta to the saucepan along with a couple of ladles of your chicken bouillon. Stir well to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick or burn at the bottom of the pan. Avoid the dish drying up by adding one ladle of bouillon every time too much liquid as evaporated. Repeat for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. Season to taste. Turn the heat off and add a handful of spinach and give it a good mix. The heat of the pasta will be enough to cook the delicate leaves.

TO FINISH, bring your chicken bouillon to a boil over high heat until the liquid takes a thicker consistency, adequate for a nice gravy. If you are doing the serving as well, serve the chicken, the pasta, and the gravy in three different dishes on the table. You can serve the cooked vegetables from your vegetable island as well if they haven’t gone too soft during the cooking.

If you want a touch more flavour for your risotto of pasta, hunt down the garlic bulb from the cooking vegetables and mash all the soft cloves into your pasta. Another classic move I enjoy doing is to throw 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs into the chicken bouillon as it reduces. It brings a lovely flavour to the gravy that enhances the entire dish.

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Bon Appetit!