Monday, May 2, 2016

Kid Friendly Pesto Chicken Bow Tie Pasta

My Tower Garden is going gangbusters. So far this Spring, I have harvested two kinds of lettuce, two kinds of kale, some spinach and some cilantro and basil. And there's so much more goodness to come -- tomatoes (large and cherry), yellow squash, peppers, celery, cucumbers and more.

I'm practically living off the land right here in South Charlotte. Ha!

With the basil I harvested this weekend, I made one of my kids' favorite dishes -- Pesto Chicken Bow Tie Pasta. They love this dish and I love that it goes a long way in that it fills them up for a few dinners with leftovers packed in their school lunches.

I hope your kids love it,  too!


Kid Friendly Pesto Chicken Bow Tie Pasta
For the pesto:
1 bunch of basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the rest of the dish:
1 pound bow tie pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions
1 pound chicken breast or tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Put all of the pesto ingredients into food processor and blend until pine nuts are mostly smooth.

A note or two about the pesto: I really just eyeball all of the ingredients based on what I am making and the amount of basil on hand. Here is how much basil I harvested from my Tower Garden for this dish. Ideally, it would have been a bit more, but I was OK with that because this dish is going in my kids' Thermoses for their lunches for the week and they prefer the dish to be a little less "green."

You could easily double the amount of pesto you use here. You could also add more or less garlic. You could add a pinch of red pepper. You could add more olive oil if you want a runnier pesto. But be careful on the olive oil and add it bit my bit because you can quickly go from perfect pesto to an oily mess.

In large bowl, combine the cooked pasta and chicken with the pesto and the grated Parmesan cheese. Place in a baking dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the shaved Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees until hot throughout.

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