Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta

Guess what!?

I’m growing my own herbs (and tomatoes, but that’s a whole different post). Cilantro, thyme, parsley, cayenne peppers, and two types of basil. (I actually have three basil plants and two parsley). If you cook a lot, I highly advise you start growing your own herbs, too. It’s really exciting to watch the growing process! Not to mention, it is much more healthy, cheap, less-wasteful, convenient, and flavorful than store bought. And the list goes on!

Basil grows at a rapid pace. Which is good, because basil is one of my favorite herbs. When it was time to harvest them, I knew what I had to make. Something that will showcase the basil, not just make it an undertone.

This savory, spring inspired pasta dish is easy, healthy, and bursting with freshness. The ultimate weeknight meal because lets face it, pesto is a real crowd pleaser.

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta:
Ingredients: (serves 6)
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup spinach
2-3 cloves garlic (depends on taste), minced
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 lemons zest
1/2 a lemons juice
One 13.5 oz box rotini pasta
5 chicken cutlets
Salt & pepper, to taste
Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the back of the box. Always remember to salt your pasta water! Place back into the large pot you cooked it in after drained. Meanwhile, season the chicken breast and grill them on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear and it’s pink in the middle. Set aside on a plate, let the juices set in for 5-10 minutes, cut into bite size pieces, then through them in a large pot with the pasta. For the pesto, toast you pine nuts with a teaspoon of oil on medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown (watch carefully!) Throw them in a food processor with the garlic, spinach, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cheese. Once that is all chopped fine and combined together, slowly process in your olive oil. Process until a puree-like mixture, and pour it into the large pot with pasta and chicken. Salt + pepper according to taste. Heat through if needed. Garnish with parmesan, basil, and lemon wedges if desired.

Oh, and your kitchen will smell like Italy. Not that I’ve ever been, but I assume this is what it would smell like. Heavenly.

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14 Comments

  1. Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)

     /  May 10, 2012

    Fresh herbs are the best! They make any dish pop!

    Reply
  2. I love that you made your own pesto aswell, it’s so tempting to buy a ready-made pot!

    Reply
    • That’s true, but making is not much harder than going to the store and picking up a jar. Plus, it taste so much better and really fresh!

      Reply
  3. I really want to grow my own cilantro and salad greens this summer! I think it’s so fun to grow herbs and veggies yourself and be able to use them in your cooking.

    Reply
  4. Delicious! I adore pesto and this looks so fresh and lovely. It’s nice that you grow your own herbs, my mum grows heaps of basil too which is brilliant me when I’m home :-)

    Reply
  5. i reallyyyy want to start growing plants and herbs! this looks amazing. pesto + pasta is an amazing combo

    Reply
    • I agree! Pesto is good on just about everything. I was eating it by the spoonful to “taste test” before it went on the pasta ;)

      Reply
  6. Congrats on growing your own herbs! We grew a bunch last summer in a little aerogarden, but we just couldn’t keep up with how quickly they were growing!

    Reply
    • Thanks! That’s funny you mention an AeroGarden- I’m actually growing some herbs in there as well as the ones outside. My house is loaded! haha

      Reply
  7. Simple and tasty – this is a great meal! The lemon is a really important part – I always like to add a bit extra at the end to give it an added tang.

    Reply

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  • Hey! I'm Chloe. 18 years young. Aspiring chef/baker. Food enthusiast! Welcome to my world of all things food where I document recipes and experiences as I go through my culinary journey. Enjoy! :)

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    All recipes on this website have been tested and tasted by me. I'll never post a recipe I wouldn't eat or that's not good enough for me, for you all. If you try any of my recipes please feel free to leave a comment on the post to tell me how it turned out or give any constructive criticism.
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