Easy Comfort Food

My husbands favorite meal is pasta with pesto. I make it for him all of the time! Ordinarily I make homemade pesto. I couldn’t make it homemade yesterday for our special pasta dinner because we currently don’t have a food processor! We are in the Boston area for three months for my husband’s job- and don’t have most of our belongings with us.
Using store bought pesto makes this meal super easy. I love that this meal includes carbs, veggies and protein. Everything you need in one pot. I recommend you make a big pot of it- and save the leftovers for weekly lunches. The recipe serves 4- but the servings are very large!

Easy chicken pesto with mushrooms and asparagus
1 pound box of farfalle pasta (bowties) or any other type of pasta of your choice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter divided
1 bundle of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounce pack of button mushrooms- chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped                                                                                                       1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided                                                                         1/4 cup half and half                                                                                                                8 ounce container store bought pesto

The veggies all chopped. I buy the sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.
The veggies all chopped. I buy the packaged sliced mushrooms and chop them smaller.

-Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Take 1-2 minutes off the cooking time for al dente.

The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.
The pasta. We do Barilla Plus a lot of the time for added protein.

– Sprinkle the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder on the chicken.

– In a large pan melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chicken. Spread it out and don’t stir for a while to get the chicken browned. Remove when fully cooked. Set aside.

– In the same pan add the remaining olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the asparagus. Brown and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper.

Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.
Veggies browning. Make sure to get color on the mushrooms. It brings out so much flavor when they are caramelized.

– In the pasta pot add the cooked pasta. Top with the remaining butter and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir and add the pesto and 1/2 and 1/2.  Add the chicken and veggies and stir. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Stirring everything together.
Stirring everything together.
Dinner!
Dinner!

Optional- Add crispy bacon for a smoky flavor. Substitute or add onions, peas or whatever other veggies you like. Shallots would be great.

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