Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chicken Pasta In Creamy Pesto Sauce

Summer is the time of year where the gardens are full of pesto's essential ingredient like basil. I just love the smell of fresh basil where it has a wonderful pungent aroma and an incredible flavor that is a cross between licorice and cloves. I like using it to cook my tomato base dishes or simply make it into Pesto.

The traditional way of making pesto and still the best way is with mortar and pestle but I used blender to make this. Typically, pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper but you can experiment it with various herbs, nuts and cheeses to come up with your own special pesto.

Whenever I make a batch of pesto, I keep some in the refrigerator and freeze and I can use it whenever I need a quick pasta meal, topping for my grill chicken or fish or to flavor my soups. Here is one quick and simple dish using pesto. I will feature more dishes using pesto later.

Ingredients for fresh Pesto
3 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add the garlic to the food processor and mince. Next, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, salt and pepper to the bowl. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil through the feed tube until all the ingredients are pureed.
2.You may need to stop the processor at this point and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to get every mixed together. Lastly add Parmesan cheese and mix it into the rest of the mixture. If the pesto is too thick, add a tablespoon of water.

Ingredients for the Pasta
1/2 box of pasta (any kind)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 piece of chicken breast (slice thinly)
1/4 cup of sun dried tomato (slice thinly)
1 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of low fat half and half
1/2 cup of pesto
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
some chopped tomato (for garnish)

1. Cook pasta according to the box instruction until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in garlic and chicken meat. Stir fry until lightly brown. Add in chicken stock and sun dried tomato and simmer for a minute.
3. Add in half and half, pesto and Parmesan cheese. Bring to boil.
4. Lastly toss in the pasta and stir until well combined and sauce thicken. Check sesoning.
5. Serve warm and garnish with some fresh tomato.

Note : Cover and refrigerate the pesto until you are ready to use it. This should keep for 2 - 3 days in the fridge but freezes well if you want to keep it longer. I used wholewheat pasta for this. Make sure you check your seasoning as it might be under salt.


Yatie_T said...

Hi Gert,
my hubby loves pasta and your pasta looks so delicious and mouthwatering too. I will try making this dish soon (if I am not too tired) :)

p/s: It's a date for Kajang Satay. Let me know when are u planning to go back.

Zue Murphy said...

Gert, your pasta in pesto sauce look delicous. I have not done anything to the pesto you give me.I cannot wait to try your recipe.thank you for the pesto.the pine nuts was really good.

Little Corner of Mine said...

Delicious! I love pesto!

Anonymous said...

yeah!! Pesto!! AWESOME!!

Charmaine said...

Thanks for the recipe. My two daughters love creamy pasta with pesto. Fab!!

Madeline said...

This looks so good. I can't wait to try it.

Cat Cat said...

I love pasta salad... They are the best... I usually used store bought dressing... Ni kerja orang malas lah, Gert... Hehehe.

ICook4Fun said...

Yatie, I plan to balik in January 09. When are you going back. If around the same time kita date kat Kajang :)

Zue, hope you like the pesto. Remember to put some salt to it :)

LCOM, I know you are a pesto fan :)

Amelia, you too a pesto fan :)

Charming, you are most welcome :)

Madeline, hope you likes it :)

Cat, this pesto is really easy to make. Just put everything in a blender and its done :)

Beachlover said...

Gert,I never cook pesto b4..I run out of idea what to cook for Elliot,now you're my saviour!!hehehe!! let me get some fresh basil and pine nuts first.Thanks for sharing:))

Fitness Foodie said...

This looks wonderful. I love the smell of fresh basil. Mine is so wilted right now, should bounce back though - they are so resilient.

Kiersten said...

I love pasta, especially if it is with pesto sauce! I can eat pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so when you shared this recipe, I jumped for joy.

Just too bad I don't have fresh basil in my backyard. My herb planting project failed big time. :(

ICook4Fun said...

Lesley, I think Elliot will like this dish.

Paker, just keep watering the plant as they are pretty easy to grow.

Pinky, please remind me to bring you some herb seeds before I go home o.k. Lets plant the seeds from here and see what happen :)

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday and it was amazing. I'm not normally a fan of pesto but it looked so delicious I had to give it a shot. It ended up tasting like a really richly flavored lightweight alfredo almost. It was fantastic AND easy. Both my fiance and I loved it and it will definitely be added to our regular rotation. Thanks for a great recipe!!!!

ICook4Fun said...

Missy, I am glad you like the pesto recipe. I used the same pesto for my grill meat and fish too and sometime topping to my pizza. Give it a try and I'm sure you and your fiance will love it!!

Jasmine said...

This looks delicious! I LOVE pesto, and this recipe sounds easy and so good! The tomatoes make it look so fresh and inviting!

Anonymous said...

Yum this looks really yummy. Are the sundried tomatoes the ones in oil or are they just plain ones (which is what I have)