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You know those nights that you don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen, but want to feel like a chef? Yeah, this creamy pesto chicken pasta is perfect for exactly for those nights.
Ready in 30 minutes, so you can get back on your couch and Netflix. Or is that just me?
And I know, I know, it’s January, so you don’t need to be eating pasta, but since this recipe is pesto based, and it can easily be made low carb or keto friendly by substituting the spaghetti for any veggie based noodles, like spaghetti squash or zucchini!
I added some mushrooms to make it heartier, and some blistered tomatoes to add a bit of a freshness to the dish. Together they all blend together to make a a bowl of comfort, perfect for a night of binging TV.
For the pesto, you can make your own (which is easier than you think) or you can use store bought pesto sauce. If you choose to make your own, I’ve used this recipe from Food Network before, and it was delicious!
If you try the recipe, let me know below in the comments how it goes!
Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Spaghetti – 1/3 of the packet for 2-3 people, or 300 grams
- 1/2 lb of chicken breasts (approx. 2 chicken breasts) cubed
- 1/2 cup pesto for sauce + 1/4 cup pesto for chicken
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1-2 cloves chopped garlic (to taste)
- Red chilli flakes
- 1 cup or 75 grams fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup grape tomatoes (around 20-25)
- Cook the spaghetti pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Cube the chicken breasts and mix in 1/4 cup of pesto to coat the chicken
- Heat the skillet or pan. You won’t need any oil as the pesto is an oil based sauce.
- Over medium heat, cook the cubed chicken until it’s cooked through, no longer pink, around 4-8 minutes per side
- Remove from pan
Macaron Flower Bouquet
- Measuring scale
- Oven thermometer
- Stand mixer or Hand mixer
- Pastry bag
- #12 round tip (optional)
- 2 aluminum baking sheets with silicone mats or Silpat
- 12-15 wooden skewers
- Macaron Templates
- 203 grams almond flour
- 188 grams icing sugar
- 150 grams egg whites About 3 large egg whites
- 132 grams granulated sugar
- pinch cream of tartar
- gel food color in 4 colors pink yellow, orange and green
- 1 cup vanilla buttercream or your favorite filling
- Gel food color in 4 colors pink yellow, orange, and green
- 1/2 cup of royal icing green colored
Assemble Macaron Bouquet
- Parchment paper / tissue paper / craft paper
- Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
- Separate the eggs from the egg whites (if using fresh eggs). Measure out 150 g (about 5 large eggs).
- Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift the icing sugar, and almond flour together. Repeat the sifting process to ensure there are no clumps. If there are any clumps, discard them.
- Prepare the Meringue: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or bowl if using a hand mixer), add the egg whites and a pinch cream of tartar. Beat on high until foamy.
- Once the egg whites are foamy, turn the mixer down to the lowest setting possible, and slowly add in the granulated sugar. Be sure to incorporate all the sugar into the egg whites.
- Turn up the mixer again on high, and keep beating egg whites until stiff peaks form. DO NOT OVER BEAT.
- Macronage: With a rubber spatula, fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, just until combined.
- Divide the batter into 4 separate bowls.
- Using a toothpick or scribe, add a smidge of preferred gel food color, then macronage as usual, until the paste flows like a ribbon/lava.
- Repeat with the other 3 colors.
- Prepare a baking sheet with the flower templates, then lay on top of it parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Fit a pastry bag with a #12 round tip, if using, and trim the bottom as appropriate. Transfer one color to the piping bag.
- Pipe flowers onto the prepared baking sheet. Once the first color is piping, tap the baking sheet to release all air bubbles. Remove smaller bubbles with a cookie scribe or toothpick.
- Repeat this process with each color. You should get about 24 different shapes in total if following the template.
- Rest for 30 minutes, until the shells have formed a skin, and are no longer tacky to touch.
- Bake Shells: Bake in the oven, at 300ºF-325°F for 12-13 minutes.
- Check for doneness, by wiggling the shell. Shells are done when they don’t move from the feet. If it wiggles from the feet, then bake for another minute, and check again.
- Cool the shells in the tray.
- Once the shells have cooled, pair similar shells to build your flowers
- Add finishing touches to the flowers.
- The pink roses and tulips have no additional steps.
- Orange Flowers - use orange gel food coloring to paint the middle of the
- Green Leaves - Decorate the leaves by drawing leaves, following the drawing on the template, using the green royal icing.
Assemble Macaron Bouquet
- Once the royal icing is dry from the green leaves, pipe your filling onto half the macaron shells.
- Add a toothpick, and add more frosting to the top of the toothpick. Carefully sandwich the macarons with their other half.
- Repeat to assemble all the cookies.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours so that the frosting is firm, before assembling into a bouquet.
- Arrange the macarons "flowers" and leaves for your desired look, and wrap the flower bouquet with parchment and tissue paper or craft paper, and a ribbon to make it look like a flower bouquet.
Veggies and Sauce:
- In the same skillet as the chicken, cook mushrooms with the garlic, until tender and browned (around 5 minutes)
- Move the garlic to one side of the pan (or remove it, if it’s a small pan) and add the tomatoes.
- Let them cook until the tomatoes have blistered. You’ll know they’re close to being done once they start to explode.
- Remove the veggies from the pan.
- Turn down the heat to low, and add 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Once the butter is almost melted, add 1 tablespoon of flour, and mix until it forms a paste. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly, in one cup of milk to the mix, and constantly stir with a whisk or wooden spoon.
- Stir constantly until the sauce is smooth, and is thickened – about 4-5 minutes.
Put it together:
- Turn off the heat and add in 1/2 cup of pesto. Mix the sauce.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and spaghetti to the pan.
- Toss the spaghetti together with sauce, chicken and veggies to combine.