Pesto Pasta

 

We waste too much food. At the end of the week I always find shrivelled up veggies and herbs. Leftovers that have seen better days and it’s guaranteed something mysterious is lurking in a Tupperware container.

Enough of this madness I say! I need to start using what we have instead of constantly running to the grocery store.

This week I had left over chicken, basil, penne and grape tomatoes. They needed to be used asap.

Luckily I remembered a delicious meal my friend Joanne made for us when Callum got home from the hospital. Penne Pasta with chicken, pesto and sun dried tomatoes.

I lacked pesto and sundried tomatoes so I had to improvise.

Pesto is one of the easiest things in the world to make. You will need:

1 cup basil leaves

1 clove of garlic

3 tablespoons of olive oil

a small handful of pine nuts or any nut you happen to have on hand

Typically pine nuts are lightly toasted and cooled before being added to the pesto. I didn’t have pine nuts but I did have walnuts so that’s what I used. To brown the nuts put them in a sauté pan. No oil is needed. Swirl them around for a few minutes until you can smell them. Take them off the heat to cool. I always stop cooking them once I can smell them toasting because they can go from nicely cooked to burnt and bitter in a matter of seconds.

Puree everything together. Add oil until it is smooth and you can’t see any large chunks.

Instead of sundried tomatoes I made oven dried. You will need:

1 table spoon olive oil

Grape tomatoes

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon sugar

Pre heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss in the sugar, oil and seasoning. I put the tomatoes on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet lined with tin foil. If you would prefer you can just put them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. They will be a bit soggy though.

Let the tomatoes cook for an hour. Check on them after 30 minutes to make sure they aren’t browning too quickly.

 

Cook your penne or whatever pasta you choose until it is al dente.

Toss the pasta, pesto, chicken and tomatoes together and put in a casserole dish. I like to grate mozzarella on top. Cook at 350 until the cheese is melted and the chicken is warm.

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This is a great make ahead meal! It also reheats nicely too so you don’t have to worry about leftovers going to waste. Well to be honest there may not be leftovers. Chris and Sofie both had two helpings because it is so tasty.

Enjoy!

 

 

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