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
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.