Jul 2

This time of year my herb garden goes crazy thanks to lots of rain and lots of sun.  My Basil plants become a small forest if I don’t stay on top of them.  It seems like a terrible waste to  grow the herbs but not use them.  So — I decided to make pesto.

What started out as a quick and simple meal to help me regain control of my herb garden was deemed one of our favorite meals.  I made a fresh basil pesto cream sauce, sauteed chicken in bacon fat, and added some crisp bacon to the plate.  As we’d been out running errands all day I used store bought fresh pasta instead of making my own, but next time I will be making my pasta because this sauce is too good to diminish with store bought pasta.  (that said, the fresh pasta was perfectly fine if you are not a nutcase like me)

At the end of making this, I realized that it was truly a 30 minute meal — with little or no planning.  I can make Rachel Ray meals in 30 minutes, but usually that’s only if I gather and prep the ingredients before I start cooking (and the timer).  In this case I remember looking at the clock and it was 7:03 as I started the pesto in the food processor and 7:27 when I was putting dinner on the plate.  Before that I had only started the pasta water and the pine nuts.

Fettuccine with Pesto Cream:

1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic grated (If you are using pre-peeled cloves you may want 3)
1/2 Cup pine nuts toasted in olive oil
Pinch Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 package fresh fettuccine from the store or 1 pound homemade pasta.

Toast pine nuts in olive oil over medium heat on stove top.  Let them brown but not burn.  A word of caution, they very quickly transition from toasted to burned so this is not the time to multitask.  It takes about 4 -6 minutes total and you’ll want to toss them so they cook evenly.  Start them in a cold pan with cold olive oil; this way the oil is also infused with the pine nut flavor.  After toasting remove them from the pan and put them on a plate to cool.

Put Basil leaves in food processor, use a micro plane or garlic press to mince the garlic.  [This is one time I don’t like to trust the food processor — this is essentially a raw sauce so you don’t want to get a large chunk of garlic.]  Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and pulse the food processor a few times to mix everything up, add the pine nuts and pulse food processor to mix.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, and replace lid, turn food processor on and stream in olive oil until the sauce starts to come together. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  (Note, the cream and the pasta will mute the flavor some so a tiny bit extra salt is a good idea)

In a shallow saute pan heat the cream over medium low heat and reduce by a third.  Let it cool a bit  while you make the chicken.

Sauteed Chicken:

4 strips thick cut smoked bacon or pancetta
4 bone-in skin on Chicken Thighs
Salt and pepper to taste
Splash white wine.

In a large saute pan render bacon until crispy over medium high heat, remove from the pan and drain over paper towels. Reserve fat in pan.

Pat chicken dry and season on both sides.  Put chicken in the hot pan skin side down and cook until deeply browned, about 8 minutes per side, Temperature near the bone should register 155 – 160 degrees. Remove from pan and drain.

Meanwhile cook Fettuccine according to package directions drain and return to stock pot.

Combine the pesto paste with warm cream (if you do this while the cream is hot you’ll turn the basil black — it’s fine to eat but not as pretty).  Toss with pasta in the stock pot.

We had a tempranillo with this.  The wine was a lighter representation of the wine, dry with berry cherry and vanilla flavors.  Not a lot of earth but nice acidity that cut the richness of the pasta cream sauce.

2 Responses to “A 30 Minute Meal! Spring Pesto Fettucine with Chicken”

  1. Looks very tasty! Also love the Tempranillo pairing… one of my favorites!

    Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!


  2. Looks very tasty! Also love the Tempranillo pairing… one of my favorites!

    Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!

    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

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