Friday, October 8, 2010

Chicken Pesto Cream Pasta

I think I can take credit for thinking this one up.  :-P  I first cooked this a few weeks ago but it was so delicious... and I had half a jar of pesto opened, we had it again last night.  :]

Chicken Pesto Cream Pasta

- Chicken breasts (2 pieces)
- Garlic powder
- Dried oregano
- Dash of white cooking wine
- Jar of pesto  -- we happened to have some Sacla Classic Pesto
- 1/3 red bell pepper
- Oil
- Cream or milk -- (I used Whipping Cream)
- Pasta of choice -- (I liked Trader Joe's Fusilli)

Is it terrible that I don't use measurements?

So in this household, we brine chicken.  1 teaspoon of sugar + 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of water.  Throw chicken in.  Adjust according to how much chicken you put in.  We buy Costco's 10lbs frozen chicken, so I usually rinse off the chicken and throw it into the brine frozen.  So it's a brine + defrost.  That's handy.

After the chicken defrosted, I threw on dried oregano and garlic powder on both sides, and splashed in some white cooking wine. 

Boil the water early and cook pasta as directed.  The pasta can cook away while you cook everything else.

Time to start the chicken.  Put some oil in a flat pan (large frying pan?) and pan-fry the chicken.  I am beginning to learn how to use stainless steel pots and pans.  (They require lots of oil so things don't stick!  I did buy a small non-stick pot so I can cook eggs and noodles in.  It's the Alvina pot.  :oP)

When you've got a good handle on the chicken, heat up the pesto sauce.  I only used half the bottle per meal.

Cook pesto sauce on medium heat until it starts to bubble a little, then add some cream or milk.  Keep stiring.  Taste to see how creamy you want it.  Sometimes I put some cream and some milk so we are only a little fatty.  Because the first time I cooked this I didn't know what I was doing, I threw in the red bell peppers.  It worked for me.  :-P  Cooking the bell peppers in the sauce softens it up, cooks in the flavors and makes it nice and oily.  :-P

The first time I made it, I didn't intend it to be a cream sauce but I didn't think I wanted to use the entire $5.50 bottle of pesto sauce in one dish!  It would've been too salty and perhaps even too flavorful.  So I looked online and found this article that recommended adding milk (to cut the cost of pesto)!

Cook and stir and when you think the bell peppers are nice and soft and the sauce and milk/cream is well combined, put everything together!  I like to plate the pasta and ladle the pesto cream sauce on top.  (Though I suppose you can combine the pasta and sauce before plating.)  Then slice the chicken breast and carefully place the whole piece on top of the pasta.  For presentation.  haha.

It's pretty crazy to think how restaurants, granted they cook it much better, can charge you like $15-18 for a chicken pesto dish when our entire meal cost like... $5 (for both of us!)  The bottle of pesto was $5.50 and the TJ pasta was $1, both split into two meals, then plus the chicken.  Serrrriiiiously, sweet tasty deal.

What are some of your favorite recipes, and when are you sending them to me?  :]

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