Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pesto Chicken and Pasta

Fresh Pesto with Almonds
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil (firmly packed)
  • 3/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/3 cup Toasted Sliced Almonds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
3 large boneless chicken breasts cut into large strips (about 3 strips per chicken breast)
About a cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
16 oz of Whole Grain Rotini Pasta
About a cup of Pesto (from recipe above)

If your almonds are not toasted already then place them in a skillet and toast them for about 5 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Place almonds in food processor.  Pulse for a few seconds.  Add in the remainder of ingredients and process until all ingredients are combined and paste forms.
Preheat oven to 375.  Spread about a 1/4 cup of pesto on the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.
Place chicken on top of pesto layer.
Spread about a 1/4 cup of pesto on top of chicken.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  While the chicken in baking start the water for the pasta.  Cook pasta according to box.
Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with about a cup of Mozzarella (I actually used the pizza blend that has mozzarella, romano, and parmesan cheeses)
Bake for additional 10-15 minutes until cheese has melted and become a nice golden brown.  The crusty melted cheese is one of my favorite parts!

Drain pasta and ladle in some of the pesto sauce from the bottom of the chicken dish.  Add additional pesto to the pasta and toss.  The amount of pesto you add to your pasta is your decision. My kids like it with a little less so I add it in a little at a time to fit everyone's needs

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