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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pasta With Chicken And Creamy Pesto Sauce

This recipe came about because my daughter needed an empty cream carton for a school project.

To stop myself from pouring the cream down the drain, I thought I would come up with a way to use it.  I know, I know, you're thinking, "well, couldn't you just have put the cream into another container?"

And, yes, I could have put it into another container, but the way that works around here is that I usually forget that I transferred an item out of its original container, so the foreign container would just sit in my fridge way past its prime until someone notices it and says, "hey, what's this (insert your favorite color) stuff?  And I say "what (pink) stuff?" (Pink is my favorite color but you can insert your own color, especially if it's green.)

And then it would dawn on me that the (pink) stuff was the cream which was way past its expiration date.    

To avoid the scenario I just described, I decided to make a pasta sauce with what was left in the cream carton.  And because the Christmas season puts me in a red-and-green mood, I decided that basil and tomato needed to be part of the sauce.

Today's Playlist
  • "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow".........Michael Buble
  • "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"..........Thurl Ravenscroft
  • "Nutcracker Suite"................Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • "Mr. Heatmiser"........Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • "White Christmas"........Michael Buble
  • "All I Want For Christmas Is You"..........Mariah Carey
  • "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".........Rockapella
  • "Blue Christmas".........Elvis Presley
  • "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".......John Mellencamp

Pasta With Chicken & Creamy Pesto Sauce (4 large servings)

for the chicken:
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins (or boneless chicken breast)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
for the sauce:
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup light cream
8 oz of your favorite pasta
2 plum tomatoes, chopped

Gather your ingredients.

These are some big, honkin' basil leaves.  They're practically as big as my hand.  I tore them up before I put them in the food processor. 

Place your basil,

pine nuts,

grated Parmigiano Reggiano,


and freshly ground pepper (to taste) in a food processor or blender.

I didn't add salt because I add salt when I cook the chicken and pasta and I think that's enough.  But if you feel you must add salt, go ahead.

Pulse the food processor while you stream in 1/3 cup olive oil.

This is what happens, folks, when I try to stream and pulse and take a picture at the same time.  I spilled the olive oil.  I know my limitations, yet still I persist, trying to achieve that which only a person with three hands could accomplish.

After you're done pulsing, you'll be left with a nice bowl of yumminess.

Let it sit while you begin your other preparations.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook your pasta according to package directions.

Prepare your chicken.

Heat 2 tablespoons of  olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat.  Lightly sprinkle your chicken with salt and pepper.

Add your chicken to the skillet.  After about 2 minutes, when it starts to turn white around the edges.........

flip and cook until done, about another 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and when it cools down, cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare the sauce.  In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, melt the butter and add the light cream.

Add your pesto.

Stir.  Oh, look how lovely that is.
Chop up your tomato.

Your pasta should be just about done.  Save a ladle full of the pasta water, just in case you need to thin the sauce.

Drain the pasta and immediately return it to the pot.

Add the chicken and tomatoes and stir.  The heat of the pasta will quickly heat up the chicken and tomatoes.

Add your sauce and stir.  If you feel the sauce is too thick and needs to be thinned, add a bit of the pasta water that you set aside.

 Garnish with additional basil and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano.


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