In fact, it was such a comfort that tonight's dinner became rather more than the chicken and salad I had anticipated. Having been relaxed about not having to cook a meal when I got home, I suddenly felt like doing EXACTLY what I had thought I would NOT want to do. So 'chicken and salad' became 'chicken with creamy bacon and pea pasta and salad'.
Creamy Bacon & Pea Pasta
This is really rather lovely as a side dish with chicken, but it also works very well as a meal in its own right. I left the quantities roughly the same as for a main meal, as I can freeze the leftovers for quick children's meals in weeks ahead.
200g dry pasta shapes
150g chopped bacon
50ml chicken stock or white wine
100g créme fraîche
2 tbsp tomato purée OR 6 tbsp tomato (pasta) sauce
100g frozen peas, defrosted
25g parmesan, grated
Put the pasta on to cook. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a very little fat until it is just crisp. Splash in the wine or stock to deglaze the pan. Stir in the créme fraîche and tomato purée or sauce, then add the peas, the parmesan and the parsley. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water, then toss the pasta with the sauce. Add some of the reserved water if you need to moisten the finished dish, to help the sauce coat the pasta and remain silky and delicious.
Add a plate of salad leaves and, actually, that was rather more than the dull chicken dinner I was expecting to produce.