Chicken, sun-dried tomato & mustard pasta sauce


Saga update:

No boiler.  No heat.  No comment.

Since the start of the Death of a Boiler saga on Monday, I have found myself spending more and more time at the house of my lovely neighbour P. (Troy‘s owner).  This is partly because she has a working shower and central heating (!), partly because she can be relied upon to open a bottle of cava within minutes of my arrival, and partly because we just get on really well.  So far this week we have discussed boiler and kitchen renovations (unsurprisingly!), cats, movies, restaurants, art and our families.  Tonight P. asked me whether I resembled my mom, a question I haven’t had to answer in ages.

Physically, I have been told by a number of people (and the mirror!) that the resemblance sometimes verges on the uncanny.  To look us square in the face side by side, you wouldn’t really say so, but try a 3/4 profile and you’ll see what I mean.  Then there was the similarity in our voices – many a hapless telephone caller launched into a discussion with one of us thinking it was the other, to their mortifrication.  And let’s not forget our identical shoe sizes, our identical figures (thanks for my tiny waist mom, but you could have kept the thick ankles!), and our protruding ulnae that gave our wrists the same distionctive bump.  (A colleague once told my mom the smooth, round protrusion of the end of her ulna was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen on a woman – she quite correctly filed him under F for Freak, Fetishist and Finished.)

But apart from our physical resemblance, there are other parallels too.  Like my mom, I am an inveterate collector of recipes from the back of packets, boxes and tins.  Her philosophy was always that the manufacturer obviously wants you to buy their product again, so any recipe on the back of the packaging is going to show off the product to best advantage, and the recipe was therefore likely to be worth keeping.  So the back of a packet is where I got my go-to tiramisu recipe, as well as the recipes for peppermint crisp pudding, double peanut butter cookies – and this pasta sauce.

The recipe was originally from the back of a packet of sun-dried tomatoes in South Africa and travelled to London neatly pasted into my recipe index book.  It’s quick, easy, a little bit luxurious and quite simply one of my favourite pasta sauces.  Enjoy!



500g chicken breasts cut into strips
salt and pepper
Canola or sunflower oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
60ml dry white wine
250ml single cream
15ml wholegrain mustard
15ml chopped fresh basil (optional)


Boil 500g pasta according to package instructions.

Heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan and add the onions and garlic.  Season the chicken strips and when the onion begins to soften, add the chicken to the pan.  Stir-fry until the chicken strips are just cooked.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes, wine, cream and mustard.  Stir continuously until the sauce thickens slightly, then add the basil, check for seasoing and add more salt and pepper if necessary.   Serve on a bed of noodles.

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, an event that was started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and in which I don’t participate nearly often enough.  But how could I resist this week when it’s my dear friend Inge of Vanielje Kitchen who has returned from blogging limbo to host?  You still have until tomorrow to get your entries in…  make it presto!

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  1. says

    Oh my, what colleague would say that to another? How inappropriate!
    This is exactly what a pasta recipe should be– quick and delicious. I even have all the ingredients (save the chicken breast) just sitting around here in the pantry :)

  2. says

    Nice post about your mother. I find as I get older the resemblance and actions are uncanny.The family calls me little Jackie. Anyway I’m glad your neighbor is so kind and that yoiu have access to hot water and bubbly, lifes essentials.
    CS would love this dish as sun dried tomatoes. pasta, and a nice creamy sauce are his favs.

  3. says

    Your neighbour sounds like the silver lining of the whole saga!
    I like the post about your Mum – I apparently sound exactly like my mother on the phone too, with the same results and though she is slightly smaller built than I am, there is a photo of her at my brother’s christening that looks exactly like me. No getting away from our genes!

  4. says

    YUM!!! I have been frantically putting my ‘meal planner’ together for the impending visit of my Mother-In-Law and this looks scrumptious! Fantasic Photographs!

  5. says

    I loved reading about the resemblances you have to your mom, Rox and I were discussing this very thing just yesterday. I really, really hope your boiler issues are sorted by the weekend! Thank heavens you have a nice neighbour!! This pasta dish is SO my kind of food, I will be rolling it out this weekend for sure – thanks :-)

  6. says

    A friend in need is a friend indeed….I think I read it somewhere on the back of a packet…..valuable stuff as is you recipe.Thx for sharing!

  7. says

    Mmmm, nice simple recipe. I’ll try that one, thank you.
    I got my very popular artichoke heart warm salad recipe from the side of the can too, but of course it got tweaked a little.
    And I do sympathise with your boiler plight – my recent trip to London was exactly the same, although the landlord wasn’t such a swine as yours! Hope it gets sorted soon, before we really get to winter.

  8. says

    This sounds delicious, Jeanne. But I don’t know how you can say the fresh basil is optional…
    (I look very much like my mother as well. So much so that whenever I visited one of my quite elderly great aunts, she could not get it straight that I WASN’T my mother. The only thing that is really different is that I seem to have inherited our mother’s ankles instead of the thin dainty ankles from my mother. Doesn’t seem right.)
    Speaking of not seeming right, I cannot believe that your boiler is still unfixed!

  9. says

    i love hearing about others’ relationships with their mothers because i have such a special one with mine. thanks for sharing. :)
    if there are two ingredients that are always in my fridge, they’re mustard and sun-dried tomatoes. i’ve never combined the two, but i suspect that this sauce will become a staple for me. :)

  10. Browniegirl says

    YUM!!! What a fabulous looking dish….LOL! I am also an inveterate collector of recipes from plastic packets and boxes. Thanx for your visit and lovely comments on my blog Jeanne xxx

  11. says

    Lovely post and really wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing it with Presto Pasta Nights. We’ve missed you! Hope this means you’ll be starting a new trend and playing along often.