Every summer, I like to grow basil in my outdoor kitchen herb garden. Basil is one of my favorite herbs. And even year-round, you can get a taste of summer in winter. Just check out your local grocer’s produce section and snap up a big bunch of basil. What to do with a lot of basil? Make a pesto! And what to do with the versatile pesto? How about making my Garlic Chicken Pesto Pasta?
Pesto is a flavorful addition to a number of dishes. Use it in salad dressings, dips, pastas, egg dishes, and as a spread for toasted baguette. You can purchase freshly made pesto at most grocery stores. You can also buy bunches of fresh basil at your local grocery store even during the wintertime and make the pesto anytime of year. Or you can bring in your basil plants to winter on a sunny windowsill. This year, my outdoor basil succumbed to a nasty disease — which I wrote about on my garden blog — so I didn’t have much to work with. I made the pesto for this recipe from a bunch of basil that I bought at Trader Joe’s earlier in the week.
Just grill some garlicky marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts and chop into bite-sized pieces. Cook some pasta (I like to use linguine for this dish) while the chicken is grilling. Toss it all together with some pesto and Parmesan cheese. Plate and top with chopped fresh basil leaves and toasted pine nuts! It’s easy!
My Garlic Chicken Pesto Pasta can also showcase some cooked shrimp instead of chicken. You could also use scallops or turkey breast. Try all sorts of pasta including bow ties, penne, and even hearty cheese-filled tortellini! Pick your favorite and enjoy!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Garlic Chicken Pesto Pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T canola oil
2 T butter
1 lb linguine
2 T basil pesto (or more if you like a lot of pesto)
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh basil
2 T toasted pine nuts
1. Marinate the chicken breasts for at least an hour in a Ziploc bag with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate chicken while marinating.
2. When chicken has marinated, heat a grill pan over medium high heat with the canola oil. Grill the chicken breasts until cooked through and browned on each side. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board, and chop chicken into bite-sized pieces.
3. While chicken is grilling, cook the linguine according to the package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside. Keep linguine warm.
4. In a separate skillet, heat the butter and add the chicken pieces. Add the linguine and the pesto. Lightly toss until the pasta is coated with pesto. Add the parmesan and toss lightly again.
5. Divide the linguine amongst 4 plates and sprinkle with chopped basil and pine nuts.
Serves 4 as a pasta course. Offer some garlic bread as an accompaniment. Divide between two diners for a main course. Add my tomato and cucumber salad with peppered goat cheese for a hearty meal.
Variations: Can omit the chicken for a vegetarian meal. Use oregano pesto instead of basil pesto. Add more garlic. Swap out the chicken for sauteed shrimp. Use your favorite pasta instead of the linguine.
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