Creamy Potato, Sage and Chicken Pasta

This recipe belongs to the ‘cucina povera’ or cooking recipes of the poor, from Italy. It was a way to use a few leftover potatoes and anything you may have in the fridge to create a lovely, tasty dish to feed your family.

In this case I had two small chicken breast pieces and two large potatoes and some sage leaves. Individually these are not enough for a family of four but when combined and lovingly prepared these can come together with the pasta to make a satisfying and tasty meal.

Cook the potatoes and blend with some extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, lots of freshly ground black pepper and a little of the water that the potatoes were cooked in. This forms a smooth sauce that, along with the addition of the chopped chicken, cooked with sage in wine till tender, makes a beautiful creamy sauce for the pasta.

The Gnocchi pasta or other large similar pasta forms hold the sauce beautifully.

Not only is this delicious but also lighter than using fresh cream that you may not always have on hand. You may, however, have a couple of potatoes, an onion and some cheese. These can be transformed with the addition of any small amount of any meat you may have in the fridge.

This is truly a creative way to make the most of all that you have in your fridge and pantry.

Creamy Potato, Sage and Chicken Pasta


  • 400g Gnocchi pasta (or other large pasta)
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large red potatoes, chopped into cubes
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped finely
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 60g of parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive oil (to cook the chicken)
  • 1 small knob of butter


1.Place the potato cubes in a saucepan and cover with cold water

2.Bring to the boil, salt the water then lower the heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender

3.Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to a bowl

4.Drizzle the 1/4 cup of olive oil over the potatoes
5.Add the Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cup of the cooking water from the potatoes.

6. Using an immersion stick blender, pulse the potato mixture till creamy. Add a little extra cooking water if needed so that the resulting potato sauce is not too thick

7.Cover and set aside and now cook the chicken and the pasta

8.Using a wide, deep fry pan add 2 tablespoons of Extra virgin Olive oil and a small knob of butter over a medium heat

9.When the butter foams add the onion, stir through and lower the heat, cover and cook for 8 mins or until the onions are translucent

10.When the onions are cooked increase the heat to medium high and add the chicken pieces

11.Brown the chicken pieces lowering the heat if the onion starts to catch. When the chicken is browned, stir in the chopped sage, lower the heat, add a 1/4 cup of wine, cover and simmer on low till the pasta is cooked. Keep an eye on it and add a little boiling water if it reduces too much

12.In a large pasta pot, bring some salted water to the boil and when the water reaches a rolling boil add the pasta, stirring to make sure that it does not stick together. Cook until the pasta is al dente

13.Remove a cup of the cooking water and then strain the pasta and return it to the pot

14.Gently stir through the chicken and sage which has been reduced while the pasta was cooking.

15.Check the potato sauce adding some of the reserved pasta water if the consistency is too stiff, then stir the sauce through the chicken and pasta mixture to make it as creamy as desired

16. Serve immediately with a green garden salad and some crusty bread

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