Sunday 4 October 2009

Chicken Tomato Pesto Pasta

Italian food gourmet style at home - my husband is a fan of pesto pastas, I had set out to make pesto pasta for him one evening. Unfortunately when I went to Cold Storage, the fresh basil leaves (to make the pesto sauce) was retailing at 4 dollars plus. Instead I got a premade pesto powder (McCormicks). There is also premade pesto sauce (more liquified in a glass bottle) which I wanted to get but didn't see that day, hence I got the pesto powder instead, since it was cheaper (and more convenient!) than getting the fresh basil leaves and other ingredients to make the pesto sauce separately. The result was a delicious nicely flavoured pasta - try it at home - you will not be disappointed. Such simple ingredients and yet such a scrumptious plate of pesto pasta. As we are not great photographers, the pictures don't do the dish any justice!


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course.

2 chicken breasts, deskinned and deboned
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Penne pasta, 1/2 packet
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped, drained of excess juice and pulp
Mayonnaise, 1 dollop (full tablespoon)
McCormicks pesto sauce mix, 1/2 packet
Hazelnut oil (can be replaced with olive oil)

1.Rub the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Boil the chicken breasts in water (just enough to create a thicker stock). Once the chicken breasts are cooked, retain the flavoured boiled water. Set aside 1/3 cup. Cool the chicken breasts and shred.
2. Cook the penne pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. In a heated wok, add in two tablespoons of hazelnut oil. Throw in the onion sand stir fry until the onions become translucent. Throw in the tomatoes. Saute for a while. Add in the pesto powder (or sauce if you bought the sauce version) and the 1/3 cup of chicken stock you saved earlier. Mix well. Add in one dollop of mayonnaise - this replaces sour cream in some pesto pasta recipes - you notice the sauce becomes slightly thicker.
4. Throw in the pasta and mix well. Have some pepper on top before serving. Viola it's done!


(a) The hazelnut oil (gourmet organic and bought from a specialty store - Crescendos) gave the pesto pasta a very rich intense flavour. I am aware most households may not have this - you can still create a delicious recipe using olive oil (without the subtle nutty flavour and aroma of course).

(b) For those who are privy to the magic of mirin and have a bottle at home, you can add in a tbsp when you are marinating your chicken breasts. It gives the stock a delicious flavour. I recommend though if you use mirin, you can forgo the salt in your chicken breasts.

(c) If you do not want that slightly creamy texture or for the diet conscious, you can skip the mayonnaise.

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