Pesto pasta really is a basic, but there are so many different ways to make it and everyone seems to enjoy it differently. Personally, I think the best pesto pasta is made using home made pesto – which is so simple that it should be a crime to purchase it pre-made.
This recipe is extremely simple but I thought I’d share it as it has become a regular go to meal at home because despite how simple it is, it’s really tasty. The below generally makes two generous helpings for myself and Damian for dinner and then left overs for both of our lunches the next day.
I made a couple of mental notes whilst making this one;
- I really need to buy pine nuts in bulk. Seriously, pine nuts make everything amazing. I go through them far too quickly to be buying small pots every other shop.
- I have to get onto the herb garden. I am sick of paying supermarket prices for fresh herbs and I would love to be able to just walk outside and pick herbs fresh to add to my cooking.
- A roast chicken can go a long way. Call it cheating if you will, but quite often I’ll pick up a pre-roasted chook and use the breast meat for this recipe, saving the other parts of the chook for other meals. If it is a decent sized bird you will only need one breast coarsely shredded. Go for two breasts if they are on the small side.
- Invest in a food processor. I am so sick of the heartache, mess and swearing that is involved with trying to make a bar mix to do a job really made for a food processor.
500g Wholemeal Penne Pasta
1-2 Chicken Breasts, shredded
1 Bunch Basil
1 Clove Garlic, diced
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
100g Sun-Dried Tomatoes, sliced in half
2/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese + some to serve
First job is to make up the pesto. This is really easy, especially if you have already, as thought process #4 suggests, purchased a food processor. Process 1/4 Cup of the Pine Nuts with the Garlic until they reach a creamy consistency. Then add about 1 Cup of Spinach Leaves and process. Add a drizzle of olive oil and process this also. Now I like quite a thick pesto, whereas for a more liquid heavy, oily pesto you would add up to about 1/2 Cup. My recommendation would be to just put in enough oil to nicely blend the ingredients together. Finally, add the Parmesan Cheese and process until all combined. You have now made pesto.
It’s really just a matter of combining all the ingredients after this point. Cook the Penne Pasta and drain off, then add the rest of your ingredients. So long as the pasta is still hot the pesto will nicely mix through the combination of Cooked Pasta, Shredded Chicken (can be warm or cold when you add it) and Sundried Tomatoes.
Toast another 1/4 Cup (at least, don’t be shy) of Pine Nuts and mix this through the Pasta with the remaining Fresh Basil, Parmesan Cheese and Cracked Pepper.
Zero to Chicken Pesto Pasta in 25 minutes. Enjoy.