Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Monday

Today I'm going to share Curtis Stone's (The Take Home Chef) recipe for

Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast w/ Spaghetti

Here are a few of my notes before you get started.  I buy Foster Farms chicken breasts from Costco in the Freezer section.  Since they are so large I fillet them whenever I cook with them.  By filleting them you get a 3 oz piece which is the perfect size.  I've also found they don't dry out as easily.  I do not make Pesto.  I purchase it from Costco.  It's delicious and saves a lot of time.  First I salt & pepper the chicken and then brown it.  Then I spoon approx. 2 tbsps of the pesto on the chicken and put the pan in the oven.  I've found the chicken to be more flavorful if you brown the chicken in the same pan you'll be baking it in.  I use Brown Rice spaghetti noodles from Trader Joes.  It is a delicious and healthy meal that my entire family loves!  Enjoy!

• Prep: 10 mins
• Cook: 20 mins
• Ready in: 30 mins


• 2 garlic cloves
• 1.5 bunches fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
• 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt
• fresh ground black pepper
• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 9 ounces dried spaghetti
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
• 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish
• 2 tablespoons torn basil leaves, for garnish

Cooking Instructions

To make the pesto: Using a Bump and Grind or another large mortar and pestle smash the garlic into a coarse puree. Add 1 1/2 bunches of basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped. Mix in the grated Parmesan cheese. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and smash to break them up.

Slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.

Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat.

Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare the pasta: Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking about 8 minutes. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.

To serve: Using a two-pronged carving fork swirl some of the pasta around the fork. Slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving.

Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a slight diagonal into 4 slices.

Arrange the chicken slices alongside the spaghetti. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts, shaved Parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over and serve.

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