July 9, 2018 — Family Food

Really Easy Chicken and Pesto Pasta

  • 30 minutes
  • 2 PEOPLE
  • easy

This is part of a series of really easy dishes - this one only take as long as the pasta does to cook. They're perfect for a quick supper after work or lunch or tea with the kids.

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What you need

150g fusilli or similar pasta

1 tbs good olive oil

65g spring or salad onion – chopped using most of the green part

1 medium courgette, about 200g grated

2 tbs green pesto sauce

125ml chicken stock or water

100g green beans or 80g frozen peas

500g fresh broad beans, podded or 150g broccoli cut into small florets

225g ready cooked roast chicken breast, sliced

1 tbs chopped parsley or basil (optional)


Dad's Recipe Tales

Broad beans – is life too short to peel the beans?

I’m struggling to answer the question. In many way yes! Peeling beans appears a pointless task – unless you are a paid cook. It comes under the same category as passing potato puree through a sieve three times , or reducing a gallon of stock to a thick syrup, or even de-boning a mackerel fillet. But aspiring home cooks are conflicted in such matters. There is a cheffy obsession which is often difficult to ignore, it’s why certain procedures might suddenly seem like a good idea; such as artichokes three ways, or salting our own cod or smoking a duck breast. But these are processes that are at least justified by learning new culinary skills.

Peeling the skin off cooked broad beans however, seems to have no other virtue than to enhance the look of the dish, or worse, a demeaning and arduous task painstakingly executed to flatter unappreciative diners.  But just as peeling and preparing artichokes can be seen as a labour of love – cutting and wrestling a stubborn spiky thistle to reveal a beautifully trimmed jewel-like vegetable giving pleasure to both cook and diner alike, so peeling broad beans should be seen as an opportunity to personally marvel at nature’s gifts and as a reflective act of love for your family and fellow diners. Because when a broad bean is served without its outer casing it enters a elevated gastronomic realm: it becomes seductively smooth and attractive rather than stubby and gnarled, lusciously bright green instead of dull green-grey and sweet and tender instead of bitter and tough. So no, life is not too short – peel the broad beans – it’s worth it.

In the mean time enjoy Dad’s Chicken and pesto pasta! Buon appetito!

How Dad Cooked It

This is a very good pesto. The speedy preparation comes from the quick cheat a jar of pesto and the ready cooked roast chicken breast. The trick to the taste is the softening of the harsh pesto with grated courgette and chicken stock. I’ve used broad beans and green beans in this pesto. The broad beans are a bit of a luxury, but any green vegetable to hand, such as peas and broccoli would be very good.

To make dad’s chicken and pesto pasta:

  1. Make the pasta. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta until just al dente and drain – reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Cook the green vegetables. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the broad beans if using for about 5 minutes, test to ensure they are tender but not over-cooked. Drain and refresh in cold water. Peel the beans and set aside. If using beans, peas or broccoli cook in a pan of boiling salted water until just done. Do this separately or make a judgement call on timings and cook together – the beans cook quickest then the broccoli followed by peas. Drain and set aside.
  3. Make the sauce. Fry the onion in the oil on a medium high heat using a large frying pan or wok for about three minutes, add the courgette and continue frying for three minutes. Add the stock, stir and bring to a simmer and cook for two minutes. Add the pesto or parsley basil (if using) and stir. Then add the pasta and green vegetables. Stir and toss for two minutes until the pasta is well coated. If if looks dry add some of the reserved pasta cooking water. Serve immediately. Garnish with basil leaves and Parmesan if you like.

Tips: Serve with a fresh green salad – briny pitted green olives make a rather excessive but welcome addition as would artichoke hearts…

If you like this chicken and pesto pasta recipe, give these a go: Marisa’s PastaLeftover Sausage and Pasta CasseroleVingnole Pasta or Really Easy Creamy Tomato and Basil Tortiglioni.

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