Tuscan Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta

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Ingredients
  • ½ pound penne pasta, cooked to al dente
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 3 strips bacon, fried until crisp and crumbled
  • 12 roasted roma tomatoes (24 halves), sliced into wide strips
  • ½ cup fresh pesto (store bought or homemade)
  • ¼ Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish
Pesto:
  • 3 cups of packed basil leaves (washed and stems removed)
  • ⅔ cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil – enough to allow it to blend freely, but not be soupy
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente
  2. Carefully butterfly the chicken breasts and sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic powder on the cut sides
  3. Grill on each side for about 8 minutes until cooked through, basting with a mixture of vinegar and honey
  4. Slice into thin strips
  5. After the pasta is done cooking, drain and pour into a large serving bowl
  6. Add the pesto into the pasta and toss until evenly mixed in
  7. Add the tomatoes, crumbled bacon and chicken, and toss again until evenly distributed
  8. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, add basil leaves for garnish and serve immediately
Pesto:
  1. Place above in a food processor and drizzle a generous amount of oil on top
  2. Pulse several times until it is coarsely chopped
  3. You may need to add more oil if it is too dry
  4. Continue to pulse a few more times until it is finely chopped
  5. Set aside ½ cup for pasta and put remaining into ice cube trays
  6. Cover with a very thin layer of oil to preserve the fresh green color and freeze
  7. After frozen remove from trays and place in airtight container
Roasted Tomatoes:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Cut 12 roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the seedy pulp, leaving the core intact Drizzle lightly over the top olive oil and toss to coat
  3. Place them cut side up on a baking sheet
  4. Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and 1 Tablespoon of sugar on top
  5. Bake for 2½ – 3 hours (mine were small and only bake for 1½ hours) or until the bottoms and edges are beginning to brown and caramelize a bit
  6. The tops will be soft and shriveled and will smell delicious!
  7. Roasted tomatoes will keep for a few days tightly covered in the refrigerator

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