Sarah was feeling a bit Crohn’s-y last night so I put together this light dish. It is a very simple preparation. Fresh ingredients are key here, however.
1/2 pound cappellini
4 quarts of water
Two chicken breasts (in this case, organic from Trader Joe’s)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Pesto:
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of basil
Extra virgin olive oil
First, prepare the pesto. In a food processor (or a mortar and pestle if you feel like a workout and getting all artisanal) process the pine nuts until they are a fine grain. Add the basil, garlic, some olive oil and some salt. Process until all the basil is very fine and pasty. At this point you can add more olive oil to get it to the consistency that you desire. I like it to be kind of thick but it is personal preference.
Bring four quarts of water to a boil. Using a lot of water is important for thin pasta like capellini, which has a tendency to stick together and gum up.
While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chicken breasts. You want a nice brown crust while not drying out the chicken. Doing it on medium heat helps achieve this. Remove from the heat and let rest.
Right before the chicken is done add the cappellini to the water. Keep a close eye on the pasta. It can go from al dente to mushy very quickly. After 3-4 minutes taste the pasta and cook until the desired texture. Drain. Add back to pot with heat off and throw in 3/4 of the pesto that you made. Toss and put desired amount of pasta in bowls or plates.
Cut the chicken breasts on the bias into two inch strips. Toss in the remaining pesto until the strips are well coated. Lay 3-4 strips across the pasta. I garnished this with some amazing fresh tomatoes from Weaver’s Way and a basil leaf. This is a dairy-free dish, and you can make it gluten-free simply by using GF pasta.