Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I’M BACK!!!

It has been over a week now since our last major snow storm and there has even been some major melting going on here so things are starting to get back to normal.  I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!

I have been in a cooking rut lately.  Maybe it is the multiple feet of snow outside and the fact that we are constantly on snow removal duty this winter, but I haven’t been spending enough time in the kitchen cooking on my new gas range that I got for Christmas :).  I feel like I have been making the same things for dinner over and over, so I am on a mission to try some new recipes.  I came across a few recipes on Pinterest and although they sounded good, nothing was exactly what I was looking for so I decided to craft this one up on my own.  It turned out to be a big hit and I will definitely be making this again!  It is also a quick weeknight meal recipe, which I need more of.

Penne with Chicken and Sundried Tomato - LiveDineParty

Penne with Chicken and Sundried Tomato - LiveDineParty

Penne with Chicken and Sundried Tomato - LiveDineParty

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Sun-dried Tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • Olive Oil
  • Handful of Fresh Basil
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove (if you love garlic feel free to add more)
  • 1 Tbs. Pine Nuts (optional)
  • Chicken, cut into tenders
  • Flour
  • 1/2 lb Penne
  • Half & Half
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

First, make the sun-dried tomato pesto.  In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, 3 Tbs. oil from the sun-dried tomatoes, 2 Tbs. olive oil, garlic, basil, pine nuts, salt & pepper.  Blend together.  Add additional olive oil if necessary.

In a medium pot, boil water and cook the penne pasta.  Make sure to reserve some pasta water as you will need it to add to the sauce.

While the water boils, dredge the chicken in flour.  Heat 3 Tbs. of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium/high heat.  Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides.  Add the sun-dried tomato pesto and cook on low.  Add the cooked penne to the skillet.  Add pasta water, a little at a time, to thin out the sauce.  Once the sauce is at your desired consistency, add the half and half to make the sauce a little creamy.  I don’t have an exact measurement for the half and half because everyone likes a different level of creaminess to their sauces.  I tend to just add a little bit at time, maybe 1-2 Tbs. total.  Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Advertisements

Homemade Basil Pesto

Homemade Basil Pesto - LiveDineParty Homemade Basil Pesto - LiveDineParty

Unfortunately, I wasted most of my life not eating pesto and I only started eating it in the last couple of years.  So, now I am trying to make up for all of the lost time.  The sad part is that I don’t think I really have a reason for not eating it besides I never really tried it.  I grew up as a very very picky eater and have since evolved to try so many new things, but I will admit to still having some picky-eater tendencies.   Regardless, I am extremely happy I have discovered pesto.

For the last couple of years my Nana would use the last of her basil at the end of the summer and make ridiculous amounts of pesto and we would freeze it in individual little zip lock bags.  I’m talking enough to make it through the winter for multiple family members.  The Italians don’t do anything in small batches!  This year, I finally decided to grow my own basil on our patio, and was rather successful, as it is the perfect ingredient to so many summer recipes.

IMG_2763

This pesto is super easy and quick to make and it is fairly healthy too.

Adapted from my Nana

Makes about 1 cup, serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed
  • ¼ cup pignoli (pine nuts)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil, add more if needed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

**I am not a huge fan of cheese so I skip it in my recipe, but feel free to add ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese if you like or just sprinkle it on top of your pasta

Directions

Combine the basil, pignoli, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor (a blender will also work if you don’t have a food processor).  Pulse until finely chopped.  With the food processor on, slowly add the olive oil.  It should have a smooth, thick consistency.  Add in the red pepper flakes and pulse until it is mixed in.  If you choose to add cheese, stir in the cheese as the final step.

Homemade Basil Pesto - LiveDinePartyHomemade Basil Pesto - LiveDineParty

Now that you have the pesto made you can enjoy it on a nice dish of pasta, on a homemade pizza, or as a spread on sandwich.  As I mentioned before, pesto can be refrigerated or frozen for later use so don’t waste it!