Monday, July 25, 2011

Cilantro Pesto Pasta

This is a dish that I have been making almost for 12 years.  I have not made it for way too long and we missed this dish.  It is so good and worth making for sure.  The combination of ingredients may sound odd,(the beans) but it works!  This is great cold too.  Enjoy!

adapted from: Betty Crocker

  • 1 lb. cooked pasta
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans
  • 1 onion caramelized
  • 1 can diced tomatoes drained or 2 diced/seeded tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 1 lb. chicken
  • 1 TBSP butter and olive oil, divided use
  • Cilantro Pesto (recipe below)

Dice chicken in bite size chunks and lightly pan fry in a tiny bit of butter and olive oil.  (Chicken will release juices and you want it a little browned so don't add too much grease).  Season as it is cooking with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook until just cooked through, transfer to plate and return skillet to stove.  Slice onion thin and place in hot skillet, over med- high heat with a bit of olive oil and butter.  Cook a few minutes and reduce heat to medium.  Let cook until onion are soft and browned and sweet, mixing every few minutes so not to burn.  This will take about 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta. (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water to thin pesto if needed)  Add beans, tomatoes and chicken to onions.  Add cooked pasta and cilantro pesto.  Toss to coat, adding some pasta water to thin, if needed.  Top with more parmesan cheese or even some goat cheese chunks and enjoy!


  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • heaping 1/3 cup good parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (more if no cream)
  • 1/4 cup cream (to make regular omit and add more evoo)
  • pinch cayenne

Clean cilantro and remove stems (they tend to get stringy) and dry.  Place in food processor with pine nuts and garlic cloves.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  Stream in olive oil and process until smooth.  Add salt and pepper and lemon zest and juice and pulse.  Add parm. cheese and cream in and stir by hand or pulse.  Cover tightly to maintain color until ready to use.

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