Monday, March 12, 2012

Sauteed Chicken Fettuccine with Creamy Lemon and Olive Pesto

This recipe was born from a mistake. Pesto was planned all along, but somehow this version was creamier than the rest. Perhaps because I was not really paying attention, perhaps because I eyeballed instead of following the recipe I usually use... whatever reason, the pesto was less green than it usually is and seemed much creamier. It was outstanding so I'd made a mental note of what I had done. And the good news is there's a ton leftover for another day!

Creamy Lemon and Olive Pesto

1 large package of basil (close to 1 fully packed cup)
1 1/3 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1 cup of pitted or canned Kalamata or black olives
3/4 cup of toasted almond (pine nut or walnut) pieces
Juice and zest from 2 large lemons
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (My use of shredded as opposed to grated, could that be what made this recipe so thick and creamy?)
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

I made this is my blender but I should have done it in my food processor. It was too thick for my blender to handle.

In a food processor add the basil, olive oil, lemon and zest, toasted nuts (optional) and Parmesan. Blend until you get a thick (like a milkshake) consistency. Add the olives and pulse so that they are chopped but you can still see small pieces. When you've achieved the mixture you've desired take a taste and add the salt and or pepper to taste. Admittedly this looked a lot like a Shamrock shake!

Cook the fettuccine per instructions on your package, drain and reserve a little of the pasta water, a few tablespoons' worth. Add the desired amount of pesto (about 1 cup) to the pasta and mix well.

The rest of the pesto will keep in the fridge for a week. It freezes beautifully as well.We'll re-use the pesto one night with sandwiches as a substitute to mayonnaise. Also is great tossed into chicken salad!

Sauteed Chicken

This is my no-fail, standby. It's quick and easy and goes with anything. I use this as a base for many chicken recipes.

Trim and clean chicken pieces. Filet each breast and then cut each fillet in half. Cover each piece of chicken, both sides, with generous amounts of garlic powder, sea salt and cracked pepper. (If having chicken 2 nights in a row or twice in the same week I will often go ahead and prepare the chicken for the next night's recipe and place the chicken, already seasoned, into a Ziplock bag.)

In a large skillet, place 1 to 2 tbs of olive oil, and heat pan on high heat. When hot, place as many chicken pieces into the pan as you can fit, leaving a little space next to each piece. Turn heat to medium-high. If the pieces get too brown turn it down to medium. Brown each side and and turn, cooking for a total of about 10 minutes. When thoroughly cooked place on a plate and keep in warm oven until ready to serve. Yield 1/2 breast, or 2 pieces per person and serve with the pasta.

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