Chicken Pesto Pasta


So besides creating art and illustrating, I really enjoy cooking. I made a yummy pesto chicken pasta last night.

I never grew up cooking in my mother’s kitchen. Moving on to college, I ate dining hall food or ordered out. Finally, when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, I lived in an apartment and yes…I finally learned how to cook.

The great thing about learning how to cook in Italy is that, well…you know… they have wonderful tasty food! I took a cooking class with a woman who married into a true classic Italian family and taught us her mother-in-law’s authentic recipes. The secret to their Italian food is that they use FRESH food daily.

I always want to use fresh herbs, veggies and meat, but sometimes time does not allow this. I’m sure many of you can relate to this, especially if you are working full time or have young kids. I’m not even a mother yet and I find this challenging.

Sometimes shortcuts are necessary and taste just as good! For example, I have made a lot of pesto in the past. Fresh pesto with basil, parsley, garlic, mint, oil, pine nuts and cheese. Then you have to take out the blender…or other tools that you have to clean later (added time).

If you come home from work one night on a cold winter night and you’d like a nice taste of summer, but a recipe that takes less than an hour, then this is the recipe for you! Sometimes you just have to work with what you have in the house J

Directions

  1. First take the broccoli, chop up in to small pieces, steam or boil in a large pot. Once cooked, place in bowl and put to the side

  2. Boil pasta according to box directions in same large pot. While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, grab whatever nut you have in the cabinet (In my case, I had dry roasted peanuts). Smash up the nuts in a bag or on a cutting board, place to the side.

  3. Salt and pepper the chicken. Put olive oil into a small pan until hot. Place chicken into pan (so you hear the sizzling sound) for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until done. Transfer to cutting board and cut up into small strips.

  4. Once pasta is done, grab 3-4 spoonful’s of the Barilla pesto, (possibly more depending on how much pesto taste you like), the broccoli, peanuts, chicken and toss it into the pasta. Add a few squirts of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lastly add some Parmesan cheese and 4-5 pinches of shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix well. Bon appetit.

Additional Notes: If I had tomatoes in the house, I would’ve cut up fresh tomato and threw them in at the end.

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