Not Your Average Chicken & Pasta

I know it’s been a while since I shared a new recipe with you guys. You’ll be happy to know that I took my LAST final today and in exactly one week I’ll be a college graduate!!!!

*excited girly sounds*

I promise I’ll be updating regularly as soon as things get settled. Until then, I’ll share some recipes I’ve had hanging out and never got around to posting. Here is a recipe I came up with while visiting friends in Florida back in December.

I took one of my favorite sauces – PESTO – and deconstructed it into a pasta dish containing all of the main ingredients. I added some tomatoes just for fun, too! It was accompanied by chicken breasts stuffed with ricotta, spinach and some store bought pesto to tie all of the flavors together. Even my dear friend Victoria, who, admittedly, is a rather picky eater, loved it! I hope you love it, too!

Pesto Stuffed Chicken
with Roasted Tomato & Pine Nut Farfalle

For Chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (6oz) jar store bought pesto
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup baby spinach, washed and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Pasta

  • 1 box farfalle pasta
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine (pignolli) nuts, toasted in a dry pan for 5 minutes
  • 1 handful fresh basil, torn into bite sized pieces
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (however much you like!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To begin, pour tomatoes onto a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and place in an oven at 400° until the tomatoes begin to pop open and become fragrant, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, place one chicken breast between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a large, heavy skillet (a meat tenderizer works well too, but most people I know don’t have one, myself included, so I just take a pan and go to town) thin out chicken to about ¼ inch thickness using even blows to the breast. Repeat with remaining three.
For filling, combine the pesto, ricotta, spinach, and garlic in a large bowl and stir until combined.
To stuff, take a thinned out chicken breast and spread with ¼ of the cheese mixture. Roll the chicken breast around stuffing. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining three.
Season chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Place in a pan with some olive oil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes on each side until a nice, golden crust is formed. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 400° for 10 more minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Prepare pasta to package directions and desired doneness.  Add roasted tomatoes (and all the oil left on the pan), toasted pine nuts, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. If it seems dry, add a little more olive oil. Stir in the parmesan at the very last second.
Serve and enjoy!


    7 comments

    1. Meghan

      Hi Jen,

      My sister told me about your blog after Cassidy and Aubrey’s christening, and I am finally getting around to reading it. It is fabulous! Congrats on graduating. I look forward to reading more!

      Meghan (Terri’s sister)

    2. caitlin

      made this tonight. only changes i made was that used shredded cheese instead of ricotta because that’s what i had and i added a little pesto on the pasta which was yummy.

      thanks!

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