Finally, the Pesto Pasta of My Dreams
Assembling this pasta has four steps, all of which are super easy: (1) Make Pesto (2) Marinate and Grill Chicken (3) Roast Asparagus (4) Cook Pasta According to Package Directions
Serve with Killer Garlic Bread and enjoy.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (it will take about a medium sized plant)
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 5-6 roasted garlic cloves (optional, but delicious see how to do this here).
- 1-2 cloves raw garlic, grated on a microplane, pressed or minced (the finer the garlic, the less youll need)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts (butterflying them increases surface area for marinade and reduces cooking time, but is not necessary)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 lb asparagus, woody ends snapped off
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or any high-smoke point oil)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or Mexican crema
- 1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
For the Pesto
- Combine Basil leaves, walnuts, roasted garlic, raw garlic, half of Parmesan cheese, and pinch kosher salt in a food processor and pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides
- Add a bit of olive oil and pulse again. Continue this process until pesto has desired consistency, scraping down the sides as needed. Reserve at room temperature in a medium bowl
For the Chicken
- Butterfly chicken breasts if desired. Add to a large gallon freezer bag. Spoon 1/4 cup mayonnaise into bag with chicken, being careful not to cross-contaminate.
- Add 1/4 cup or so of the pesto sauce to the bag with the mayo and chicken, being very careful not to cross-contaminate.
- Seal bag and squeeze out as much of the air as possible. Massage to ensure chicken is well coated and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours
For the Asparagus
- Break woody ends off asparagus, allowing them to decide where to snap
- Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet (or, if no wire rack, just on a baking sheet is fine).
- Coat asparagus in avocado oil (or use the spray version to make it wicked easy).
- Preheat grill or grill pan to hot. Grill chicken on all sides until lightly charred and internal temperature registers 150F on an instant read thermometer. Reserve to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest while completing the steps below
- Place asparagus 2 inches below a broiler set on high. Roast 5 7 minutes under direct heat until asparagus is lightly charred. Remove and set aside
- Cook pasta according to package directions, stirring occassionally
- While pasta is cooking, slice chicken into 2 inch strips and cut asparagus into pieces of similar length
- When pasta is cooked, drain and immediately return to the pot it was cooked in.
- To this same pot, add chicken and asparagus and stir to combine
- Add heavy cream or crema, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and all the remaining pesto sauce to the pot
- Turn heat on very low and stir everything using tongs or a wooden spoon until nice and creamy, 1 -2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan cheese at the table