Lemon-Pesto Chicken and Pasta

Every once in a while, I decide that what I’m having is good… but it could be better. Take Safeway’s lemon capellini salad. It is tasty. It is one of the few things I will eat containing capers. But sometimes, it needs a little… je ne sais quoi. So, I indulged myself.

As a side note, I would add cut up fresh tomatoes and capers to this, but the husband is no more a fan of them than I am. In fact, he’s not a fan of fresh tomatoes at all, whereas I love them.

DISCLAIMER: All amounts are guesses. Some are more of a guess than others. Most liquids were “a splash or two”, and most seasonings were “mmkay, looks good…”. Just remember that.

You’ll need:

~1.3 lb boneless skinless chicken breast.
~6 oz rotini (or other types of pasta, but rotini holds the flavor well)
lemon juice
olive oil
pesto
~1/4 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp pepper
~1 tsp dried oregano
~1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic paste (roughly 1 medium clove of garlic, minced)

Directions:

Cut chicken breast into bitesize pieces and brown in skillet, using olive oil or cooking oil (a couple tablespoons) and around 1/4 cup lemon juice. When cooked, coat with the salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and ~1.5 tablespoons pesto.

Cook and drain pasta such that it is a little softer than al dente. Add roughly 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1.5-2 tablespoons pesto. Mix until coated.

Serve chicken over pasta with your choice of cheese (I recommend something like parmesan, romano, etc.). Goes well with steamed veggies of most kinds, as well as white wine.

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SO MUCH PASTA SAUCE

So, just before our power went out for a few hours yesterday (yay, spring storms!), the boyfriend and I had just managed to finish preparing an amazing dinner. I had wanted to make a focaccia bread that one of the boyfriend’s roommates had made a week or so ago (though I managed to screw it up and accidentally added 133% of the needed water, but it still turned out pretty good, all things considered), and I wanted to make something to go with it. Pasta was the obvious choice, but I wanted some veggies–and not just salad. So, I endeavored to make a pasta sauce that would a) prove me a true (1/8th) Italian, and b) be eaten by the boyfriend, who is not the world’s biggest fan of a lot of veggies.

I based my recipe off of this one from AllRecipes, and I will note my changes below.

First, I roughly 2/3’d the recipe. Kind of, anyway. I still added 2 bell peppers (one green, one red, both diced fairly small), the rough equivalent of 2 carrots in baby carrot form (and diced instead of shredded), no zucchini (I used 2 large-ish celery stalks, diced small instead), 1.5 pounds of ground beef instead of doing half pork sausage, 14 oz. of tomato paste on top of 52 oz of diced tomatoes (and it still didn’t thicken), and all of the herbs were dried (we used about 3/4 of a tablespoon of dried basil and 1/2 a tablespoon of garlic powder). I don’t know how many ounces of mushrooms I used, but I’ll state right here that I minced 2.5 medium-large ones. Also, the recipe never says when to throw in the meat. We tossed it in before simmering, so it could soak up some flavor. This was, in fact, an excellent idea.

All in all, it turned out to be really, really good. The boyfriend maintains he could not taste the veggies much, if at all. (I suspect this is at least in part due to going heavy on the herbs.)  It was rather more like a stew with a thin broth, but quite chunky. We figure it would feed 4 or 5 reasonably hungry people for two or three nights (more like 3).

If you have a whole afternoon to spend, it’s definitely worth the time.

Added later: This sauce is actually perfect as a burrito with a whole-wheat tortilla and shredded parmesan cheese. Just saying.