There is nothing better than coming home after a long day of seeing clients to find your wonderful husband has not only cooked a delicious dinner but has also cleaned the kitchen (this was the happiest part)! This is the recipe for the surprise pasta dish that I found in my kitchen – a Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta.
To make it have a little more fibre and to reduce the carbohydrate load, I’d suggest replacing all (or half) of the spaghetti with zucchini pasta. Recipe for that is here. I would also add some chopped mushrooms and broccolini if I were to cook it next time (hey, I have to give him credit for trying!).
What you need for the Chicken and Spinach Pesto Pasta…
– 4 (about 200g each) chicken breast fillets
– 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
SAUCE AND PESTO
– 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
– 150g baby spinach leaves
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
– 100g reduced-fat feta
– 45g (1/3 cup) almonds
– 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
– 60ml (1/4 cup) light and creamy evaporated milk
– 40ml (2 tbspn) olive oil, extra
– 500g dried spaghetti pasta (see option below)
How to make the magic happen…
- Slice each chicken breast into 3-4cm pieces. Combine lemon juice, paprika and oregano in a bowl; add chicken and marinate for approx 30 minutes in fridge.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the spinach just wilts. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor.
- Add basil, feta, almonds, and pecorino/parmesan to the spinach mixture. Process until finely chopped. Add evaporated milk and extra oil. Process until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan. Add the spinach pesto and toss to combine.
- Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill on medium-high. Cook the chicken for 4 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice the chicken across the grain.
- Divide the pasta mixture and chicken among serving plates.
*Option – Replace some or all of the spaghetti and include zucchini pasta instead.
In the Thermomix…
- Slice each chicken breast into 3cm pieces. Combine lemon juice, paprika and oregano in a bowl; add chicken and marinate for approx 30 minutes in fridge.
- While chicken is marinating move onto making sauce.
SAUCE AND PESTO
- Place onion and garlic in TM bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Scrape sides of bowl, add 10g olive oil and cook for 3 minutes at 100C on speed 1. Add spinach and cook for 1.5 minutes at 100C on speed 1.
- Leave spinach mixture in bowl and add basil, feta, almonds and parmesean. Set dial to and turbo 2-3 times. Add evaporated milk and 20g remaining olive oil and mix for 5 seconds on speed 3. Set aside in Thermoserver.
COOKING CHICKEN AND SPAGHETTI
- Place 1 litre warm water into TM bowl.
- Place marinated chicken into the varoma dish and set into position. Cook for 20-25 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 2, turning once during cooking.
- While chicken is cooking, cook spaghetti on stove so it is all ready at some time.
- Place chicken and spaghetti into thermoserver with sauce and toss to combine. Let it stand for 5 minutes, the sauce will thicken and coat the spaghetti.
- Serve with extra grated parmesan cheese.