Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pasta, Pesto, & Peas + Protein!

The original recipe for this dish came from Barefoot Contessa's Pasta, Pesto and Peas recipe. My current dish is really nothing like it - I make my own pesto (see recipe below) and really only use a few of the listed ingredients and I prefer to add a protein. If you love pesto, this is a great and super-easy dish (especially if you use store-bought pesto to make your life easier).

Pesto (~ 1/2 cup, but its really to taste)
Pasta, any type is fine, ~ 1lb
Frozen peas, 1 bag (I use the petite variety from Trader Joe's)
Parm cheese (grated), handful
Chicken breasts, cooked and chopped, ~ 1lb (or more is fine)
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Boil water for pasta
2. Add pasta - cook al dente
3. Drain (fine to leave a bit of pasta water in there); in the same pot, add pesto (to taste - acts as sauce), peas, and cut up chicken. Mix.
4. Add in handful of parm cheese. Salt, to taste.
5. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

You can make the chicken for this dish in a number of ways - grilled, breaded and cooked in the oven, or sauted on the stove (this is how I do it). I use thin-sliced chicken breasts, season with s/p and whatever spices I have on hand and saute in frying pan with a bit of olive oil and chicken broth. Really, any type of chicken will work - leftover chicken would be great and easy.

Pesto - any pesto that you like will do. I make my own because I have not found a store pesto that I like. My recipe is very simple - the proportions are approximate and really to taste - but I use about 1 bunch of basil leaves, 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, handful of parm cheese, small handful of walnuts/pine nuts. Combine in food processor and then drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until it forms a smooth paste. Salt to taste.



Heather said...

I made this tonight... it was really good! I make my own "healthy" pesto (a recipe I got out of the newspaper once), so we did that, added in the chicken, and the peas. Yum! Thanks for passing on the recipe.

P.S. I am knottie heatherkj.

Jade said...

Heather - I'm so glad you liked it. Its really simple (I think) and if you are a pesto-lover, it usually works pretty well. I'm curious about your healthy pesto - is it with chicken broth instead of olive oil?