Tuesday, November 29, 2011

recipe: spaghetti with pesto and roasted chicken.

Cooking for 2 or 3 can sometimes leave me with lots of leftover ingredients. I especially get the problems with fresh herbs so I always get a 'should I or should I not' situation at the supermarket; wondering if the recipe could do without a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary. So the way I cook these days is to buy what I need for something I want to cook and if there are ingredients leftover, I'll come up with something which will help use up the remainders the next day.

After making the Crispy Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes, I was left with quite a bit of basil and cherry tomatoes. With that and seeing that I had 2 chicken thighs in the freezer, I decided to whip up a Spaghetti with Pesto and Roasted Chicken.

Ingredients (serves 2)
dried spaghetti (enough for 2)
extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To make the pesto:
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, picked and chopped
a small handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
½ clove of garlic, chopped
a handful of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

To make the roast chicken:
2 boneless chicken thighs
a bunch of cherry tomatoes, halved
a sprinklng of dried thyme
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Note: a bit of judgement call would be required in the making of this recipe. I was using whatever leftovers I had so I don't have the exact measurements for everything I used. Feel free to add or reduce whatever you feel is best and taste as you go along. You should be in a good place if you keep to that rule.

  • To make the pesto, pound the basil and a little bit of salt in a mortar & pestle (or place in food processor). Once the basil has been pretty much smashed up with the salt, add the garlic and the pine nuts and continue pounding.
  • Remove after everything has been bashed up and well combined. Add the parmesan cheese and mix well.
  • Add the extra virgin olive oil and mix well with the basil until you get a smooth consistency that isn't too dry.
  • Season with salt and pepper or add more cheese according to your personal liking. Set aside

  • Making the roast chicken is super simple. Slice open the chicken thigh and remove all the unnecessary fat. The thinness will help it cook quicker.
  • Place the thighs, tomatoes and seasonings in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a 190℃ oven for about 45 minutes or until cooked.
  • After the chicken is cooked, keep the flavourful juices and shred the meat. Set aside.

  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain the water after the pasta is cooked but reserve about a cup of the pasta water.
  • Mix the pasta with the pesto which was prepared earlier and toss well to ensure that the pasta is well coated. Add a little pasta water if you need help to loosen up the pesto so that it's easier to coat the pasta.
  • Assembly is easy. Place the pasta on a plate and top with the shredded chicken, tomatoes and its juices. Finish it off with more parmesan cheese if you like and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on the top.

Dinner (or lunch) is served!

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