Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Heb 12:1-2 (NLT)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta

Ease: 3/5     Kid-friendliness: 4/5     Taste: 4/5     Ease: 3.5/5

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

I love pine nuts. Love them. And pesto. And my family loves pesto. So I thought I'd try my hand at making some homemade pesto. On the plus side, my husband (my biggest critic), said it tasted better than the jarred stuff (YES!). On the downside, I found it a bit high maintenance. Any recipe that requires me to use a blender, a pot AND a pan, is a lot in my books.

This pesto has a nice mild flavor.

What you'll need:
  • garlic, 1 small clove
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 1/4 C baby spinach
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C olive oil 
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb whole wheat rotini noodles (really, any noodle would work)
  • 2 C cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C feta cheese
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a blender (or food processor), combine the garlic, pine nuts, spinach, and 1/4 C of the parmesan cheese. Chop. You will have to stop a couple of times to scrape down the edges. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil from the hole or spout in the top. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and a couple of grindings of ground pepper.

Add 1 Tbsp of salt to the boiling water. Add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, according to package directions (~14 minutes). Drain; reserving ~ 1/2 C of the cooking water. Add the chicken to a large serving bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, over medium-high heat, melt the butter or margarine. Add the chicken and cook, until heated through and no longer pink (~ 5-8 minutes). Add the chicken to the serving bowl along with the pesto, feta cheese and remaining 1/4 C parmesan cheese. Toss, adding as much cooking water as required to make a nice consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Adapted fromWilliams-Sonoma The Weeknight Cook: Fresh and Simple Recipes for Good Food Everyday, chicken and arugula pesto pasta recipe.

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