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Pesto Pasta with Calabrian Chili Chicken

This one is simple, guys. Super simple.


Pesto sauce. Pasta. Chicken. Arugula. That's it! A delicious and mostly healthyish meal perfect for any weeknight - or busy weekend! Also, this one is really good as a leftover. I even eat it cold!


For those wondering "what are Calabrian Chilies and where do I find them?" Great questions! Calabrian chilies are from Italy and pack a little bit of a kick. I personally think they have a little sweetness to them, too! They're not very big (actually kind of small!) and they come jarred. You can usually find them in the International section of the grocery store or by the pickles. Can't find them? Don't feel like looking? Use some red pepper flake instead! I think 2 teaspoons in this recipe would work great! 

I made the pesto for this dish with the plants I've been growing in my backyard. They've been poppin' lately - all this good weather and sunshine has my backyard basil growing like crazy! In fact, my whole garden is exploding with peppers, tomatoes and fresh herbs - and I love it! Definitely found my green thumb in 2020. Thanks, Covid?

Enjoy!

Pesto Pasta with Calabrian Chili Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4


INGREDIENTS:


3 cups dried short pasta (penne, orchietta, farfalle, etc.)

4 heaping handfuls of arugula

1 cup fresh basil pesto

3 chicken breasts, about 2lbs

5 calabrian chilies, minced with seeds

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup parmesan cheese + more for garnish

salt + pepper

pine nuts, garnish

6-7 basil leaves, julienne


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Whisk together minced calabrian chilies (with their seeds!), minced garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil.

  3. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper and place chicken breasts on top. Pat chicken dry. Season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Spread calabrian chili/garlic/oil mix on both sides of the chicken breasts. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

  4. While chicken is cooking, prepare your pesto. Recipe here: Basil Pesto.

  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add salt. Cook pasta. When finished cooking, strain. No need to reserve pasta water.

  6. When chicken breasts are done cooking, remove from oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes. Chop into bit size pieces.

  7. In a large salad bowl, toss together arugula, pasta, chicken and pesto sauce. Make sure everything is combined thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into bowls, garnish with Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and julienne basil leaves.

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