Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Perfect Summer Meal: Chicken Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Isn't it pretty? Here's a close up:


I've probably talked about this before - hell, I may have even blogged about this before, but it is one of my all-time favourite summer dinners. And with this heat (101'F when I was running errands at noon), it's amazing that I would want to go anywhere near a stove right now.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes - 4 servings

Pesto Sauce:
2 cups washed basil leaves
1/3c. Kraft Grated Parmesan
2/3c. Kraft Light Zesty Italian dressing

Everything Else:
8oz. uncooked whole wheat pasta
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
2c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
Some extra grated parmesan for garnish

Take the pesto ingredients and puree them (I use my Braun hand blender), then put the sauce in the fridge while you make everything else. Cook the noodles as instructed on package, drain. Pour noodles back in the cooking pot, then add in pesto sauce, diced chicken breast, and quartered cherry tomatoes. Mix everything together, and top with a bit more parmesan, and serve.


What I really like about this dish is:

1) It is beyond simple.
2) The pesto sauce freezes really well - sometimes I will make big batches and freeze it for when good, fresh basil isn't so readily available in markets.
3) It is open for variation - for example, above I used lemon basil from my local farmers' market, half red grape tomatoes, half yellow cherry tomatoes (from my garden!). There are so many types of basil, and all will lend a different flavour - try different tomatoes, different pastas - I have even used grilled shrimp instead of chicken - and sometimes with no meat at all - it's all good.
4) While Willow may turn her nose up at the tomatoes (infidel!) she gobbles up everything else on her plate.



Bezzie said...

Ha ha! You gotta move north to Jersey--where basil grows year round! Hee hee! Even the bugs are Italian--my basil plant is the only one that's being eaten by them!

This looks good. And cold!

Deborah said...

This looks wonderful. I'm going to make itfor lunch tomorrow. Thanks for sharing it.

kemtee said...


(Hey, if she isn't eating the tomatoes, it leaves more for you, right?)

Odie Langley said...

I love pesto and can't wait to try this one. Thanks Jo.