Monday, July 9, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Pesto Sauce & Pasta Pomodora

So, I've been suffering from creative cooking block lately, but I spent a lot of time thinking about food and my blog while on vacation last week and have come up with some good ideas! I wanted to make stuffed pork chops last night, but I just couldn't get motivated. My daughter suggested Pasta Pomodoro, which is easy enough, but my husband and I like to have more protein than that, preferably in the form of meat. So, we came up with Grilled Chicken with Pesto Sauce. I wanted to put it over a bed of arugula, but our grocery store didn't have any. The dish was really delicious! My husband did the chicken; I did the pasta.

Ingredients for the chicken:
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
salt, pepper, ancho chile powder, tumeric, & cumin
1 cup olive oil
half a bunch of basil
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, plus more for garnish, if desired
4 slices of gruyere cheese, each cut in half.

Sprinkle the spices over the chicken, using as much or as little as you want. (My husband came up with this combo....not sure why? ;) Set aside. Put the oil, basil, garlic & pine nuts in a tall container (I use a small plastic pitcher that I got at Ikea) and blend together with an immersion blender (because I hate using blenders!) until all liquified. Set aside.

Grill the chicken...about 10 minutes per side. Heat the oven to 325. After the chicken has rested a few minutes, cut each breast in half, put a half slice of the cheese and a dollop of the pesto sauce on each breast. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts. Garnish with pine nuts, if desired.

Ingredients for the pasta:
Angel hair pasta, cooked as directed on package
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 large tomatoes, chopped rough
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 or 2 sprigs of basil
salt & pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt & pepper and let simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. I started the sauce right when my husband put the chicken on, and it was perfect by the time the chicken came out of the oven. Serve the sauce over the angel hair pasta. Garnish with more basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired. Oh, and I did something kind of weird. I added about a tablespoon of the leftover Pesto sauce to the Pomodoro sauce to finish it off. It was good!

Look out for my Asian/Thai inspired stuffed pork chops coming up soon. :)