Pesto is definitely a staple in our house, and if you haven’t had it you must give it a go. Homemade is super easy and only has three ingredients:
- fresh basil
- olive oil
- parmesan (or parmigianno reggiano if you’re fancy. Sometimes I can afford to be fancy. Mostly not.)
In general, the package brands I’ve tried aren’t great. If you look at the ingredients, there is often more parsley than basil, to keep the color green. The oil will be a nondescript vegetable oil. There will be preservatives and weirdness. In a pinch, I will use the one at the medium-fancy grocery store. It is on the kiosk cart thing with the self serve olives. It is pretty good, but very garlicky. Making your own, you can make it anyway you want. Cheesy, garlicky, salty, low-fat whatever. It’s all in your control, and how often can you say that about anything? I’ll take it!
Following is a recipe for pesto cavatappi which is a favorite of the husband’s. It has Oven Poached Chicken because a dinner without protein doesn’t cut if for him. It is a fast and furious dinner, just like we need in the burbs, and even the six year old likes it.
- 8 oz (half a box) cavatappi or penne or any kind of pasta
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers
- ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1 chicken breast, cooked, diced (use your Oven Poached Chicken) or a grocery rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup pesto
- optional: any cooked veggies you want to throw in, extra cheese for topping
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. Put the diced chicken into the colander. Drain the pasta over it to warm it.
- Put the pasta and chicken back into the pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients
- That's it!
Also serve cold or room temp for a great pasta salad.