Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chicken Breast over Pesto Cream Pasta

Let me just say for the record that I love basil. I love it. It is my favourite herb, by far. I could eat it in so many things and be happy. I love basil in chocolate. I love basil in sauces. I love basil with tomatoes. I just love it.

So it is needless to say that I also, in turn, love pesto. It took me a long time to realize I loved pesto as much as I do. I never ate it through middle or high school (eyuck, green stuff!). I don't even think I had it throughout most of college. Then it was all about tomato sauces. I didn't even like cream sauces that much. So when I finally owned up and just HAD pesto I was blown away.

Pesto is something, I feel, that may be hard to make right. Sometimes I get it at restaurants and it's too oily, or way too salty. I like it when it's... you know, just the right amount of basil punch. Thick and rich. I like it to be salty with the taste of parmesan, not salt. I want it to take fresh and rich. I never buy it from a tub (again, yuck!).

But I love it, still, all the same. Spread on my sandwiches, put in my pasta, topping my risotto. So I had to try my hand at some pesto cream sauce (I know, it took me way too long rambling about how much I love pesto and basil to get to this part). This was a recipe I seriously made from scratch, just fooling around in my kitchen. It's also I made a long time ago (surprise, surprise!). That said, I remember eating this and just being so happy with it. I remember how warm and rich it was. I remember adding more basil leaves because I couldn't get enough. It made me a very pleased Stephanie, and so... I probably will have to make it again. If and when I do, I will likely revise this recipe for better deliciousness.

(I enjoy my basil pesto pasta with a bottle of blackberry beer. Note, this was NOT a good combination).
The chicken, too, was a welcome addition. I try to make sure all my flavours will go together well when I make it.... so I seasoned this with some poultry seasoning, rosemary, and some extra dried basil as well. I also spiced it up with a little cayenne pepper. Then it was grilled on my Wolfgang Puck grill while I made the sauce. I didn't want the chicken to have too much flavour so that it would overpower the pesto, but I also didn't want it to sit alone and not have anything at all going for it. So that was a triumph!

Mmm, pesto. This makes me so happy.

Chicken Breast over Pesto Cream Pasta

2 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/8 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 box of pasta, boiled el dente (I use fancy multigrain protein plus style pasta, personally)

Boil Pasta in salted water as per directions~

Rub each side of each chicken breast with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon olive oil. Follow with evenly divided portions of seasonings for each chicken breast. Rub it in.
Grill over medium-high heat until cooked throughout.

Meanwhile, blend together the garlic, pine nuts, and basil. Once thoroughly blended, slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil. Take pesto and transfer to a saucepan, add in parmesan cheese and cream and heat over low to medium-low heat. Continuously stir until well mixed and thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and stir in a little olive oil so it doesn't stick. Serve topped with chicken breast and pesto cream sauce, garnish with basil, some pine nuts, and maybe even a little extra parmesan cheese.

So good~!

1 comment:

phoenix said...

I'm ridiculous when it comes to pesto sauces, so this is something I have to try. In fact, I've been salivating over it since you posted it, I just haven't gotten the motivation to make it.

Considering how hungry I am right now, a trip to the grocery store may be in order on the way home tonight.

To the point though - I too have been burned by canned/pre-made pesto, and it's no good at all, especially considering how easy it is to make and tweak to your tastes!