1/2 lb penne or pasta shells
2 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup pesto sauce (recipe follows)
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup romano cheese, grated
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 10 minutes
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain & rinse under cold water until cool; drain well.
PESTO SAUCE: Place oil, nuts, garlic & salt in a blender or food processor. Process until nuts & garlic are finely chopped. Add basil & process until finely chopped. Stir in Parmesan & Romano cheeses.
In a large serving bowl, combine pasta, chicken & pesto sauce. Toss to coat w/ sauce. Garnish w/ tomatoes. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Pesto has traditionally been a summer favorite, when garden fresh basil is in season. Now fresh basil, grown hydroponically in greenhouses, is available in many markets all year. Here pesto is combined w/ pasta & chicken for an Italianate salad that's loaded w/ flavor.
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