This is my absolute favorite weeknight recipe. I found it several years ago online by Giada Delaurentiis, and I modified it just a little. I enjoy it most in the spring and summer when I can use my freshly-cut basil from my garden in the pesto. Enjoy!
12-oz. angel hair pasta
4 large carrots
2 T butter
1 1/2 lb. chicken breasts
20 basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 T pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 T parmesan cheese + garnish
salt & pepper
1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. To make it healthier, sometimes I make it with half white pasta and half whole-wheat.
2. Cut carrots into strips or slices. To save time, use the slicer disc on your food processor.
3. In skillet, cook carrots in 1 T butter over medium heat for 3 minutes. Don’t cook too long! The carrots will continue to cook with the chicken.
4. Add chicken (To save time, have chicken pounded thin or slice chicken breasts to make 2 thin cutlets). Cook 4-5 minutes, turning once, until cook through.
5. Combine basil, garlic, nuts, oil, salt & pepper, and 1 T of parmesan cheese in food processor or blender.(Double the recipe and freeze half for an even quicker meal next time!)
6. Add to chicken. Toss to coat.
7. Drain pasta. Return to pan and toss with 1 T butter.
8. Serve with chicken and top with parmesan and pepper.
Make it a freezer meal! I cooked this recipe when I was pregnant with my daughter and froze it to eat when she was a newborn. I froze the chicken with pesto mixture (not the pasta), and it froze very well. I just thawed it out and put it in the skillet to heat up while I cooked the pasta.
Cost: If you grow your own basil, I estimated this recipe to cost about $6.50. That serves 4 plus leftovers. If you have to buy your own basil, it would be about $9.50. Clearly growing your own basil is the way to go to make this a low-cost delicious dinner!