Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pesto Chicken, plus Pastina with Peas and Carrots

For tonight's dinner, I made a recipe by Giada Delaurentiis. She's one of my favorite chef's and when I seen her make Pastina with peas and carrots, it looked so good, I had to try it. Well I am happy to report that it is actually VERY delicious! The whole family loved it and Nate devoured it! We have a winner! You can definitely have this as a meal by itself, with garlic bread but I decided to make a simple Pesto Chicken to go along with it. Fortunately for me, my kids are not picky eaters, so the pesto chicken, they also devoured.

Pastina with Peas and Carrots

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) pastina or other small-shaped pasta, such as farfallini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

  • Directions:
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until the peas are warmed through and the carrots are tender. Stir in the cooked pasta. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses. Stir until the mixture is incorporated and forms a sauce. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped basil.

Pesto Chicken
This recipe is great for the fast, weeknight meals. You definitely make a pesto from scratch, if you have the time but for me, this works better.

4pcs. boneless chicken breast
1/2 cup ready made pesto (I use Members Mark Pesto, from Sam's Club)
1 cup of Italian style bread breads
2 tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Create an assembly line, putting pesto and bread crumbs into separate shallow bowls. Then taking your chicken, one piece at a time and dip into the pesto, coating it completely. Followed by coating the chicken in the bread crumbs. Season each piece with salt.
In a large skillet, heat oil and brown up the chicken. About 5 minutes on each side. Beware, the pesto tends to brown up the chicken fairly quickly. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a baking dish, continue to cook chicken in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees.