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Friday, March 21, 2008

Spinach Pesto Penne with Chicken

In a follow up to my spinach & walnut pesto recipe here is the pasta I created using the pesto. Although I managed to stay away from a tomato based sauce, I could not avoid using tomatoes in the dish altogether and hence used them as a vegetable. In fact they are probably what made this dish so delicious - roasted cherry tomatoes combined with melted goat cheese and spinach pesto.

3/4 to 1 lbs chicken breast, cooked
1/2 cup (or more) spinach pesto
50g soft goat cheese
1 1/2 to 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup sliced mushrooms (white or shitake)
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lbs cooked whole wheat penne

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken over med heat. When done cut into 1" chunks and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. Place cut cherry tomatoes sliced side up on a non stick baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, place 2 cups dry pasta into water and cover with lid. Remove from burner and let sit for 10 min. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water (might need to thin out pesto sauce).

In a large pot cook mushrooms over med heat until caramelized, add the chicken, tomatoes, and pasta. Season with 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes.

In a small pot mix the goat cheese with the spinach pesto until forms a creamy texture. Add to the pasta mixture, stirring until coated. Add a bit of pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed and add more pesto as needed. Heat over burner for a few minutes and serve.

Serves: 4

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