Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Chicken, Fennel, Currants and Mascarpone

Summary: In the mood for pasta, I was rummaging in my fridge and saw shredded rotisserie chicken, fennel and a bit of mascarpone. Some random flash of old reminded me that I’d once seen a dish with pasta, chicken and currants. YES! So, I sauteed some garlic, fennel and currants in some olive oil, salted it well, added a healthy dash of cinnamon and some chicken, sauteed some more, deglazed with some of the white wine I was drinking and kept warm. 
In the meantime, in super-well-salted water, I cooked some whole wheat spaghetti until al dente, reserved 1/2 cup of cooking water, and then tossed the pasta, a nice knob of mascarpone and about 1/4 c cooking water into the fennel-chicken mixture. I stirred/cooked it all over low heat, adding a bit more cooking water as I went to keep it vaguely saucy, and served with freshly grated parmesan and some chopped fennel fronds on top.

Yield: serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 large (!) clove(s) of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup fennel, diced, some fronds (a generous tablespoon or so) chopped and reserved
  • 2 tablespoons dried currants or chopped sultanas
  • splash of white wine or water
  • 1/2 cup shredded roast chicken
  • salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
  • whole wheat spaghetti (enough for 2 people)
  • freshly grated Parmesan


In a 4-quart pot, heat to a boil some well-salted water. Add enough whole wheat spaghetti for 1-2 people (one large entree, or two smaller portions).

In the meantime, over medium heat in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the fennel, garlic and currants. Stir until fragrant and starting to soften, a few minutes. Add a half-teaspoon of cinnamon and the chicken and stir to combine. If you are drinking white wine or have some, deglaze the pan with a generous splash. Turn heat to low and keep mixture warm.

When the pasta is al dente, scoop out and reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the fennel-chicken mixture. Add the mascarpone and ~1/4 c of cooking liquid. When the mascarpone gets creamy and incorporates, check the sauciness factor and add more reserved cooking water if you'd like. Taste the chicken mixture- do you need more salt or cinnamon? Anything else?

When the pasta is warm and the sauciness is to your liking, pour into a serving bowl and grate some fresh parmesan over the top. Toss to combine and then sprinkle the reserved, chopped fennel fronds over the pasta.