Whenever I am away from my Kitchen for an extended period, I always start missing it like a family member.
I start feeling like I’ve neglected it. Like it’s pining for me. Like it’s waiting for me to respond to a text that I’ve left on two passive aggressive blue ticks.
I’ve had a manic month and my cooking hasn’t exactly been consistent. This has nothing to do with time (I am still a firm believer there is always TIME to cook) but I have actually physically been away from my Kitchen on holidays and work trips, living out of a suitcase and eating out of sad supermarket fridges.
Pray for me.
But alas I have now returned to my Kitchen with the warm arms it deserves and have cooked myself a meal. Well done me.
There are some dishes home cooks always refer to as a return to their kitchens. They return to a recipe because it’s familiar and feels like a soft landing back into routine. Mine will always be pasta or tacos. In this instance, I fell into the cosy comfort of pasta.
I won’t go into the history of pasta – I’m sure you just want to know how to make it. I’ll get to the good bit, I promise. But I feel I would be doing this recipe a disservice if I didn’t tell you why you need to make it.
THESE FLAVOURS ARE FILTHY.
I mean they are proper stinking. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (follow me here – hi) you might not know that the ‘Scratch’ in the recipe title means Scratchings… as in animal skin… in this instance chicken… which means yes, there is crunchy chicken skin nestled up in them here breadcrumbs.
If you have some form of angst against it, I’m sure you could leave it out but I won’t dwell on it too much because a world without chicken scratching is not one I want to comprehend for too long.
To begin, you’re going to need some Chicken Scratching. I could go into it, but I won’t because I have a recipe for that which you can follow here. However don’t spice the skins, just adorn it with a little salt and pepper.
When you have your crunchy Scratchings, bash them up into a mix of chickeny bits and some rubble. Perfect.
Now crack on with your breadcrumbs. Throw some stale bread into a food processor but if you don’t have stale bread, chuck some normal bread into the oven for the last ten minutes of chicken skin’s cooking time.
Blitz this to a breadcrumb rubble.
Now grate in a generous handful of Parmesan cheese followed by a tablespoon of Herbs de Provence (or fresh thyme, which was my herb of choice but I know not everyone is a fan). Blitz up.
Empty into a bowl and by hand, stir in most of the chicken skin rubble (reserving a handful to one side).
Put on a big pan of water to boil for the pasta.
In a dry frying pan, pour in your breadcrumb mix and fry on a medium heat until the breadcrumbs start to toast up a little bit. Pour this back into the bowl and reserve for later.
Your kitchen will smell INSANE at this point by the way.
Now in the same pan, melt a little butter and olive oil and while it melts, chop up some bacon. Throw into the melted butter and cook for about 10/15 minutes until it starts to crisp up.
Now remove the bacon to a plate, leaving as much sexy buttery bacon fat in the pan.
Throw your pasta – any pasta, I went for spirals but spaghetti would be great too – into the boiling pan of water, stir and salt and cook for packet instruction (usually around 9-10 minutes).
Carefully pour in a small cup of white wine and let everything furiously bubbly up. Stir this around and keep simmering on a low heat for the remainder of the pasta’s cooking time.
Before draining the pasta, take a small cup of the pasta water out of the pan and pour into the frying pan of bacon wine.
Drain and throw the pasta into the bacon wine. Stir so that it absorbs up all the juices.
Now pour in the breadcrumbs and toss together so that each pasta piece gets coated.
Plate up the pasta but before you serve, shave over a little more Parmesan and take big pinches of your reserved bashed chicken scratching and anoint the dish.