I must confess that the spark of an idea for this recipe started in a department-store café, when I tasted something similar, loved it and decided to try and recreate it at home. It soon became a family staple and it’s one of the few dishes that my daughters actively sought out the recipe for. The sharp tang of the lemon combined with the nursery comfort of the pasta is reminiscent of the zingy crêpes that are so beloved in my household. It sounds odd, I know, but do give it a try – it’s a dish that I hold very close to my heart.
Ready in: 30 min
300 g/10½ oz dried spaghetti
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cube frozen crushed garlic or 3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
150 ml/5 fl oz/generous ½ cup crème fraîche
2 tbsp snipped chives
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook for 10–12 minutes, according to packet instructions, until tender.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Increase the heat to high, then add the chicken and continue to cook, stirring, until sealed on all sides. Once the chicken has sealed and has started to release liquid, add the ground turmeric and sugar, season generously with salt and pepper and crumble over the chicken stock cubes. Stir to combine and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Drain the pasta through a colander, adding a ladleful of the pasta water to the pan with the chicken as you do so. Add the lemon juice and crème fraîche to the pan and stir to combine. Divide the spaghetti between serving plates and spoon the chicken and sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.