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Tag Archives: Pesto

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

10 Jan

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta. ¬†That’s a mouthful. ūüôā ¬†But don’t let the lengthy moniker fool you. ¬†This tasty pasta dish is deliciously simple. ¬†Bonus: ¬†it’s good for you!

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta boasts players like chicken breast, garlic, spinach, and pesto. ¬†We love making easy homemade pesto, which tastes fresh and super delish. ¬†You’ll love making your own pesto, which also stores well in the fridge. ¬†I haven’t tried store bought pesto, but it’ll probably work in a pinch.

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta 2

This Chicken Florentine pasta dish is light and perfect for keeping up all those healthy New Year resolutions. ¬†What this dish isn’t light on is flavor. ¬†It is absolutely savory and yummy. ¬†My family loves this pasta, and my 3 year old actually chomps away happily at the spinach! ¬†(Now, if I can get the older siblings to do the same.)

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta 3

Serve up this pasta with a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and you’ve got a fabulous dinner! ¬†Make it a delicious weeknight supper for the family or weekend dinner with guests. ¬†Either way, this Chicken Florentine Pasta is phenomenal. ¬†Enjoy!

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RECIPE (6-8)

INGREDIENTS

16 oz dried penne pasta
4 chicken breast pieces (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
kosher salt and table salt
freshly cracked black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
9-10 oz bag of fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 cup freshly grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of well-salted water. ¬†Cook penne until al dente. ¬†Drain (don’t rinse.) ¬†Toss drained penne with some olive oil to prevent sticking. ¬†Keep warm.

While pasta is preparing, make the chicken:  Put cling wrap over each piece of chicken on a cutting board.  Pound each piece evenly thin (about 1/4 inch thickness.)  Sprinkle each chicken piece lightly and evenly with kosher salt and pepper, on both sides.  Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a large skillet and brown two of the chicken breasts on both sides over medium high heat.  Cook just until chicken is cooked through; about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how cold and thick the chicken is.  Repeat with remaining pieces.  Slice chicken breasts into strips and set aside.

Put chopped onion and garlic into skillet with 2 TB oil.  Saute 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  Add the white wine and 1/2 tsp table salt.  Boil vigorously until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Add fresh spinach and saute on medium-low, stirring often, just until spinach begins wilting.  Turn heat to low.  Add cooked chicken, cream, and pesto, stirring to combine and warm up, about 1 min.  Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl or dish, combine cooked penne with the chicken/spinach mixture.  Season with more kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in fresh parmesan, reserving some for garnish.  Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Note:  This pasta dish is perfect with a crisp, light Sauvignon Blanc

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Simply Recipes 

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Basil ‘n Lemon Pesto

10 Oct Basil Pesto

My beloved basil plants have just completed their season here.¬† If you’re lucky enough to grow herbs in a climate where it’s still warm, you’re probably not seeing the sad demise of your plants.¬† Alas, mine are pretty much seeing the end of their days.¬† I salvaged what was left of my basil plants, brought them indoors, and stuck them in water until I could figure out what to do with them.¬† I thought about blanching and freezing the leaves.¬† Or drying them for future use.¬† In the end, I decided to whip up a batch of pesto, which I know will keep in the fridge awhile and comes in handy for all those weeknight meals.

Basil Pesto

We usually have fresh lemons around, so we make lemon-basil pesto.  It is so refreshing, and gives the pesto that perfect lemony tang.  If you prefer plain basil pesto, just omit the lemon.

Basil Pesto

Pack in those basil leaves.  Goodbye, garden, until next spring!

Basil Pesto

Of course, good extra virgin olive oil.

Basil Pesto

Voila!¬† That’s it!¬† Now we’ve got a nice reserve of beautiful pesto, ready to go when needed.

Basil Pesto

Pesto is awesome in so many pasta and chicken dishes.¬† It’s supposed to be good in some fish recipes, too. ¬† I used to avoid pesto, for some reason.¬† I suppose I thought it was greasy…probably from less-than-ideal¬† restaurant experiences.¬† What a difference when you make it yourself!¬† Pesto is actually pretty healthy when I get to put in my own fresh ingredients.

Basil Pesto

No need to ever buy jarred pesto sauce.  A little goes a long way, and this keeps nicely in fridge awhile.  I am generous with the salt in my pesto, because once it marries with all that pasta, the richness of the sauce thins out and becomes lighter.

The great thing about pesto is how versatile and flexible it is.¬† If you don’t want to use pine nuts, other nuts can often work nicely.¬† Sunflower seeds are a decent alternative, if you’re allergic to nuts.¬† You can make it more or less garlicky, depending on how much close social contact you’re expecting to have in the next 24 hours ūüėȬ† If you’d like the color to be greener, simply add some flat leaf parsley to the mix.

Here’s our favorite basic (and easy!) pesto recipe.¬† Enjoy!

RECIPE (makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 small lemon (or half of a large lemon)
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (only add upon serving)

DIRECTIONS

Put basil, garlic, and nuts in food processor and pulse several times until chopped.  Add olive oil and lemon zest with juice.  Process until smooth and well blended.  Transfer pesto to large bowl and season with kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste.

If using immediately, add in Parmesan cheese and mix together well.

If saving for future use, just transfer pesto to airtight container (if desired, divide into 2 separate containers) and drizzle with bit of oil on top or place cling wrap directly on pesto to seal out air.  Simply thaw and mix in the Parmesan cheese when you want to serve it up!

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