Last Saturday when I got my fresh herb pack from Bountiful Baskets, I knew that I needed to make some fresh pesto, and as I was eating it I thought ‘Why haven’t I blogged about this before?’ It’s so easy and delicious. Enjoy.
Chicken, Pasta and Pesto
Food Storage Ingredients:
10 oz pasta, prepared al dente
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons almonds, toasted
1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 lbs of chicken
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
dash of lemon juice
additional Parmesan for garnish (optional)
1. Marinate chicken overnight in Italian dressing. Or to make life easier follow these instructions. 2. Cook chicken as desired. Grill it, bake it, whatever pleases you. My favorite is to throw it in my medium-sized crock pot frozen and cook on low for 8-10 hours. 3. When you are almost ready to eat, puree almonds, cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and basil in a food processor to desired coarseness. 4. Spread over chicken and pasta.
Notes: The recipe that I originally based my pesto on called for salt. I feel like the cheese makes it salty enough, but if you like it saltier, by all means. Pesto traditionally calls for pine nuts or sometimes walnuts. I use almonds for two reasons. a) I do not like pine nuts or walnuts. b)Almonds are significantly less than pine nuts or walnuts. Once when I was a girl my grandpa took me up in the mountains to hunt for pine nuts. I decided that it was way too much work for something that just didn’t taste that great. (The last time I was at Costco, a 3 lb bag of pine nuts was about $28. I’ll stick with almonds, thank you.) I also keep a jar of pesto in my pantry, just in case. Since this is a meal my family is familiar with, we could get by on a meal of jarred pesto and pasta, but the fresh is much better.
If you happen to have a large quantity of fresh basil (whether from your garden or your Bountiful Basket), you can make this and freeze it. Just leave out the oil and cheese and add those when you are ready to serve. Usually I make my pesto as I have spelled out above. This time I added a touch of fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary because I had them. Very delicious.