The first taste of “Sea Salt” in SS+C…
For the twenty-something years that our mother has been feeding us fresh pesto from our garden basil, it’s fair to say my mind was blown when I discovered that pesto doesn’t always have to be green! Sounds silly, right? Well, I can’t get enough of this red pesto. It’s beyond delicious and has amazing flavor. I’ve made it too many times in the past couple of months. I haven’t made my own “sun-dried” tomatoes, but maybe that’s the next level for this recipe when the summer farmer’s market is in full swing.
There are oodles of recipes for sun-dried tomato pesto floating around the web. I have tried a variety and smooshed several together to land on this relatively easy one with too much garlic- it’s darn good! You can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon to brighten it up. We love big flavor! As with all recipes, it goes without saying that you should tweak things to your personal palette. This is a recipe with great ROI… the flavor output is amazing relative to the time/effort/ingredient input.
You may notice that our chicken hopped on the camouflage trend and blends in with the pasta/pesto. That was unintentional but we’re going to say it was on purpose.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto with Chicken + Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
For the pesto:
1 – 8½ oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (and herbs!)
4 – 5 cloves of garlic, not to be taken lightly- make sure they’re sizeable or add a couple extra
Good shake of crushed red pepper, around ¼ – ½ t, mas o menos
Salt and pepper to taste, we love Maine sea salt but use your favorite
1 c basil, save the tips for garnish if you plan to be fancy
¾ c Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, we love cheese so we roughly measure too much
Olive oil, if needed to balance consistence
For the resto:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Your favorite pasta: linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti, angel hair….
Pint of cherry tomatoes
In a blender, or Cuisinart mixer, place the sun-dried tomatoes with their oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Whirl for a few seconds to chop up the tomatoes. Add basil and whirl some more. Add cheese and olive oil, if desired, and whirl for a several pulses/seconds just to combine.
I like to start my pasta water… now! Salt the water well and follow box instructions for desired doneness.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and slather with some pesto, about ½ T per breast. Bake in an oven set to 450° for 10 minutes, flip and bake 8 – 10 minutes more or until done.
On another baking sheet, or once the chicken is done and covered to keep warm, spread the cherry tomatoes in a single layer and broil until slightly browned and wrinkled. This can happen pretty quickly so keep an eye on ‘em! About 5 minutes with a couple pan shakes seems to do the trick, but all ovens are different.
When the pasta is done toss with remaining pesto. Some people like to mix pesto with a bit of the hot pasta water before tossing with pasta. Top with sliced chicken breasts and roasted cherry tomatoes. Add basil garnish and more cheese if you like.
Mangia! (Eat!), Blair