Monday, August 17, 2015

Pesto Chicken Pasta with Zoodles

Pesto Chicken Pasta with Zoodles
I have some exciting news. I have kept a basil plant alive the whole summer. I know summer isn't over but this is a big accomplishment. I have harvested basil at least three times from the same plant! Amazing!! Usually I can't keep plants alive very long at all. Especially in a pot. I'm so excited about this plant. I baby it. 
So because I have all this basil we've been enjoying caprese, in all forms and pesto! I keep making pesto to freeze, but then I keep pulling it out to make quick dinners. I don't think I'll have any by the time fall leaves, boots, and pumpkin spice make their appearance. Still, we'll keep enjoying this while we can. I use almonds in our Pesto because it's the only nut that my nut free girl can have. Pine nuts of course are beautifully buttery and yummy, so use them if you have them. Walnuts are wonderful also. 
Basil Pesto keeps best if air is kept away from it. To store in the fridge, add a layer of olive oil to the top to protect it. See freezer instructions below.

The pesto recipe posted will make more than enough for this dish. To freeze pesto put it into an ice cube tray and drizzle the top with some olive oil. Once frozen the pesto can be put into a container or zip top bag. Try it over fish, scrambled eggs, and more.

If you don't have a vegetable spiralizer, use a julienne peeler for the zucchini noodles. I have other zucchini and vegetable noodle recipes posted HERE.
I sliced the chicken on top of the Pesto Pasta for my family, but you can serve it either way.
The top picture I left it whole. We've had this meal quite a bit. 

Pesto Chicken Pasta With Zoodles

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 zucchini - spiralized, or use a julienne peeler
16 ounce box thin spaghetti, cooked in salted water
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/2-1 cup Basil Pesto (to taste)

Basil Pesto

2 cups basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup unsalted almonds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 -1/2 cup of parmesan
Fresh cracked pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

  1. Lay the chicken breasts flat on the cutting board and slice them horizontally so you have four thinner pieces of chicken.
  2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Sear the chicken in a big sauce pan with a little olive oil. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and top each piece with a couple of teaspoons of pesto.
  4. Add the pasta and zucchini to the pan on medium heat. Toss with pesto to taste. Add half of reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Add remaining water if needed.
  5. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper, add any chicken juices that have accumulated on the chicken platter, adding more pesto as needed.
  6. Serve pasta topped with chicken.

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