Spring Pasta with Herby Chicken Meatballs

The most enchanting and exhilarating arrival into any city in the world has to be the speed boat from Marco Polo airport into Venice. That quintessential wowie moment! It never gets old. Off the early Easy Jet flight with hand luggage for the weekend, we were both lucky enough to be invited to a very exciting party, to zooming along as the morning fog rises like a peek boo unveiling to the ancient trading fantasy world. Each island all manmade on a foundation of wood, 117 of them, feels straight out of an old painting - nothing spoiled or modernised, except the occasional comical selfie stick. You really get that feeling of a pocket of history, feels like a dream thinking of Venice and then you arrive and realise it was always here. Winding through the canals- as condoles, low stone bridges (you need to duck for), dilapidated buildings and faded venetian colours evoke pure elation and escapism. We have arrived! Both each other’s hot date to the hottest party ticket this spring- a futuristic masquerade party starting with the most enchanting, fun Palazzo dinner at the Aman followed by boats to a carnival style rave with performances by, Dixon and Bedouin. Mixtures excitement and nerves as we get our glad rags on, but oh what naughtiness and adventure a night in Venice brings on. But of course, it’s not all about the party. Its about finding yourself in a place with an abundance of excellent restaurants, a place steeped in history and beauty- where we get to sit outside with the sun of our faces, drinking cold wine white and eating seasonal delicious dishes- stuffed courgette flowers, cuttlefish, artichokes, shellfish and plenty of pasta. Being in Italy means getting to eat pasta at lunch and dinner, with the perfect guilt free from all the walking. One dish in particular we loved was a pappardelle chicken ragu, which at the time we thought sounded questionable, chicken and pasta (same as chicken on pizza) just always seemed like a massive ‘No’. But actually, made so much sense, the perfect meat for taking on flavour and feeling light and delicious. This was our creation for a chicken pasta dish- keeping it fresh and spring like. We really like making sauces like this, by using a little stock, lemon, butter, parmesan and plenty of seasoning- and then allowing slightly al dente pasta to cook into it with chopped herb. Yum, with that cold glass of white wine.


    1 red onion, diced

    3 lashing of streaky bacon, finely chopped

    2 garlic cloves

    ½ tsp dried chilli (optional)

    pinch thyme

    big handful of washed and chopped spinach

    1 lemon zest, and half juice

    250g of chicken breasts

    heaped tbsp. ricotta

    2 tbsp chopped parsley

    2 tbsp chopped basil

    ½ tsp. nutmeg

    1 egg

    big pinch of breadcrumbs


    1 leek, finely diced

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    2 bay leaves

    150 white wine

    200 chicken stock

    ½ lemon juice

    2 tbsp finely grated parmesan

    1 tbsp butter

    big pinch chopped basil and mint.

    Handful Peas, frozen

    Handful Asparagus, sliced on the diagonal 


·      Sauté the bacon for a few mins in a pan with a little olive oil, add the red onion, thyme, chilli and garlic. Sweat down for a good 10 mins, then add the spinach and allow to wilt, and take off the heat.

·      In a food processor, pulse the remaining meatball ingredients with the spinach

mixture until you get a course mixture. Add a little more breadcrumbs if feels loose.

Form into small balls, and fry in a frying pan until crispy.

·      In a pot sauté the leeks, garlic and bay, with a little oil for around 6-8 mins, until translucent. Then add the wine and stock, allow to bubble and infuse for a good 10 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon, and add the parmesan and butter. To form your sauce

·      Cook pasta so al dente. Add pasta, once drained, to the sauce with the sliced asparagus and cook for a further minute, and then add the peas . Followed by the chopped herbs and plenty of seasoning.

·      Plate up with the crispy meatballs and more parmesan… we would also want a little chopped chilli on top.