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Easy herb and cheese pasta made with leftover roast chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
The cool thing about this pasta is you can prep and cook the sauce in as long as the pasta takes to cook. If you'd prefer to have everything laid out before you start, all good — just know that once you've made it a few times, set a timer and hit autopilot. It's the perfect midweek meal.
10 minutes


  • 400 g pasta such as spaghetti or penne (see tips)
  • 6-8 banana shallots soaked in water (helps with the peeling)
  • Leftover roast chook meat enough to shred a small handful for each person
  • Roasting pan fat and juices
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup parsley roughly chopped
  • 60-80 g parmesan finely grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for drizzling


  • Get your pasta into a big pot of well-salted boiling water and bring it back to the boil as quickly as possible. Set the timer for a minute less than the packet tells you to if you like al dente. If you're a soft pasta softie, then stick with the instructions on the pack.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium-high while you halve your shallots lengthwise and peel off the skins. Pop these cut-side down in the hot, dry pan.
  • Shred the chicken using your fingers or, if you'd prefer to keep yourself tidy, two forks working against each other. Note: hand shredding leftover chicken is one of life's joys and worth the greasy fingertips.
  • Add the shredded chicken to the pan and scoop in the schmaltz (that's the golden chicken fat on top, NOT the brown jelly just yet). Check on your shallots and flip them back over so that the schmaltz sucks up between the layers.
  • Once the chicken has warmed through and the cut-side of your shallots are browned, scoop in the pan juices. Add minced garlic. Stir about.
  • If you've used up everything in your pan juice jar, use this to scoop out a good amount of pasta water, about half a cup. If you're still packin' schmaltz, use a mug.
  • Drain the rest of the pasta through a colander, then chuck it right back into the pan with the rest of the ingredients, half the chopped parsley, and half the parmesan, then pour over the pasta water and stir everything about so the sauce gets thick and silky and all the flavours get friendly. Taste for seasoning.
  • Garnish with leftover parsley, parmesan, a crack of pepper and a glug of olive oil for good measure. Serve with a side salad and a sly smirk at your ingenuity.


I like using spaghetti or penne for this, but fusilli or any old shape in your pantry will do. You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. My favourite is made using sorghum, but the GF pastas out there these days are topnotch.

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