Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Article first published as Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken on Blogcritics
When folks think of pesto, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the traditional basil pesto made with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and toasted pine nuts. However the beauty of pesto is that you can make it with other ingredients as well. I recently made this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken using a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. It's just as easy as making a traditional basil pesto and is just as versatile to use as well. I highly recommend doubling the pesto recipe just to have some on hand for sandwiches!...

This is such a great dish to use pesto. Essentially, it's pesto, pasta and chicken tossed with spinach, tomatoes and topped with goat cheese. The sun-dried tomato really has a beautiful color and the rich flavor of tomato comes through nicely. I adapted the original recipe to include chicken, spinach, fresh tomato and goat cheese because they all work so well with a tomato pesto. It's a great combination of flavors and they make for delicious leftovers too... that is, if you have any after serving it the first time!


Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken
recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

12 ounces farfalle pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
8 oz. frozen spinach
1-2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the pesto, grilled chicken, spinach and diced tomato. Toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Serve with crumbled goat cheese on top.