Pasta with pesto is so divinely comforting and this pesto chicken pasta is no exception.
Basil is the major ingredient in a pesto, but I often add other herbs and leafy greens in my pesto. For me, pesto often comes about when I have surplus herbs and leafy greens that are likely to go to waste, I gather the strongest of the bunch, remove any wilted stems or leaves and wash thoroughly before adding to the other ingredients. Today’s pesto recipe includes basil, arugula and spinach, which makes a milder but more complex tasting pesto, but most importantly for me, I avoid the “from fridge to trash” exercise.
Pesto chicken pasta is a quick and easy meal that tastes so good. It’s great as a weeknight meal for the family, or served with a Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris as part of a night of entertaining. Make sure to save a few sprigs of herbs or veggie leaves to add to each serving when plating – I almost forgot!
Once you’ve mastered this recipe, why don’t you try your hand at creating another alternative pesto, whenever you are in danger of wasting herbs and vegetables. See my list below of herbs and veggies that will work really well together. Select two or three for a recipe and experiment.
- micro greens
You can also substitute the pine nuts with walnuts or pistachios.
Chicken pesto pasta is a great weeknight meal, it’s easy to create and the recipe is easily adjusted, resulting in a slightly different tasting meal each time. A recipe that keeps on giving!
- 4 cups basil (remove from stems)
- 2 cup arugula
- 2 cup spinach (I used baby spinach)
- 1 cup parmesan (shredded)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Water to cook pasta (approx. 8 cups)
- 1 lb angel hair pasta
- 1 lb boneless chicken pieces (cut to 1 inch in size)
- Salt and pepper to season chicken
- Olive oil for cooking
- Handful of pine nuts
- Few sprigs or leaves of basil, arugula or spinach
- Saucepan with cover
- Sauté pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Place basil, arugula, spinach, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil in blender.
- Blend ingredients on a low setting into a paste and set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and then heat oil in sauté pan.
- Cook chicken pieces until golden. Make sure chicken is cooked through, then set aside
- Pour water into saucepan and heat on high until boiling.
- Place pasta into saucepan, do not break, just allow pasta to soften and it will eventually drop to the bottom of your saucepan.
- Once water rises to boiling once again, lower to a simmer and cook for approx. 8 mins
- Drain pasta thoroughly then add to mixing bowl.
- Add chicken and then pour in the pesto.
- Mix thoroughly and serve.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts and garnish with basil, spinach or arugula, or a combination of them all.
- I used chicken breast only, but feel free to use your favorite pieces of chicken in this dish.