Roasted Garlic and Tomato Pesto with Penne and Baked Chicken Breast

I’m so sorry for the delay in getting the next recipe on here. I got busy and couldn’t find time to blog but I’m back with an amazing recipe for everyone to enjoy.

This is my version of pesto. One thing you will notice is the absence of pine nuts. The deal is that I don’t like them even though I know they are really good for you. One ingredient that I’m sure you’ve noticed that I love is garlic! I absolutely adore garlic! Roasted garlic is the best so I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate roasted garlic into this recipe. The result is completely delicious.

Many people don’t like chicken breast because they’ve had it prepared poorly when it ends up overcooked, flavorless, and dry. This baked chicken breast will change your mind. Okay enough of my commentary on to the recipe.

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Serving size: 6

Active time: 20 minutes

Inactive time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 lb. (approximately 3) boneless skinless chicken breast

4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided into 3 T. and 1 T.

season to taste ( I used 1 T. granulated garlic, 1 t. granulated onion,

1 T. kosher salt, 1 T. black pepper, 1 t. cayenne pepper)

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1 lb. of pasta (I used whole wheat penne)

32 cloves of garlic, peeled

3 Roma tomatoes, quartered

2 C. fresh basil leaves

3/4 C-1 C. shredded parmesan

1/4 C.+ 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided into 1/4 C. and 2 T.

1/4 t. + 1 pinch of salt

1/4 t. + 1 pinch of pepper

_____________

Basil leaf

Parmesan for garnish

Pesto Procedure:

1. Cook pasta according to the package directions. When cooked don’t rinse the pasta to ensure that the sauce sticks to it.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees

3. Quarter you tomatoes then place them in a shallow pan. Add 1/4 t. of salt and pepper to them, and add 1 T. of olive oil. Mix to ensure that the seasoning and oil are coated.

4. Place your peeled garlic on a piece of foil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then add 1 T. of olive oil. Fold the foil so that the garlic is completely covered. I folded the left side over, then the right side, then the bottom, then the top. When the garlic is in the foil pouch place it in the same shallow pan as the tomatoes.
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5. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. The tomato skin should be wrinkled and the garlic should be soft and fragrant.

6. When the tomatoes and garlic are roasted place them into a blender or food processor. Add the excess olive oil and seasoning from the pan to the blender as well. Add 2 C. of fresh basil and 3/4 C.-1 C. of shredded parmesan cheese.

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7. Pulse the blender or food processor until the mixture is thick then pour 1/4 C. of olive oil into the pesto while continuing to pulse. Note: The pesto will not be the green color you are familiar with because of the tomatoes.

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8. Return the cooked pasta to the pot you cooked it in and pour the pesto on top of the pasta. Mix to incorporate. Turn the pot onto low heat stirring occasionally until the pesto penne gets creamy. It takes approximately 5 minutes.

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Chicken procedure:

1. Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 3 T. olive oil and season to taste (add whatever combination of seasoning you like on the chicken breast). I used 1 T. granulated garlic, 1 t. granulated onion, 1 T. salt, 1 T. pepper, 1 t. cayenne.

2. When you pan is hot add 1 T. olive oil to the pan and place your chicken breast in the pan to sear. Allow the chicken to sear for 1 minute on each side to lock in the juice and flavor. When all of the chicken has been seared place it into a shallow pan and place into the oven for 25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest section of the breast.

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3. When the chicken is done allow it to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes to allow the juices to remain in the chicken.

4. After the resting period slice the chicken diagonally.

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5. The chicken can be plated on top of the pasta as shown in the picture or mixed into the pasta.

6. The basil leaves and additional parmesan can be used for garnishing.

Notes:

  • Variations: Can herb or vegetable can be substituted for basil leaves and any nut can be added.
  • C= cups
  • T= tablespoons
  • t= teaspoons
  • lb= pounds

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