(Creamy Pesto Sauce That You Can Put on Anything You Want!)
I have finally refined this recipe enough that I feel like I can share it. WARNING: I tend to over-complicate things, so if you just want the recipe for the creamy pesto sauce, skip the rest of my ingredients / instructions. I use sheep’s yogurt and cheese for my cow-dairy sensitive peeps, but you can use the regular stuff. The COSTCO in my area carries a lovely Manchego sheep’s cheese, and I get sheep’s yogurt from my local store. When we are not eating grains, I serve over a bed of fresh veggies rather than pasta. I use a spiral vegetable slicer for making “zoodles” (zucchini noodles). This recipe is super easy to make vegetarian. I had leftover veggies and noodles, and the sauce was lovely when reheated.
6 boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
1 bunch of Broccoli
1 pkg. organic, whole grain pasta (Or zoodles made from 2 or 3 zucchinis (or one mammoth zucchini from your garden!) or 1 large spaghetti squash)
2 tbsp. butter
Marinade/ Rub for Chicken
4 Tbsp. avocado oil (a high heat oil)
The juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Creamy Pesto Sauce
6 oz fresh basil
1 cup mild cheese
1 cup pistachios, shelled
1 cup olive or avocado oil (avocado oil has a mild, buttery flavor that I prefer)
4 large cloves of garlic (I use 4 tbsp. minced fresh garlic from the jar)
1 – 6 oz. container of greek yogurt or sour cream
Pesto: Prepare all ingredients. You could do the pesto first, but I like to prepare mine while the chicken is cooking. When you’re ready, purée pesto ingredients in a food processor until you like the consistency. Set aside.
Marinade / Rub: Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or plastic container. Add the chicken, mix well, cover and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. (You can marinate them in the refrigerator all day, if you want.)
Chicken: Since chicken breasts come in different sizes, you may want to slice thick breasts in half horizontally, especially those more than 1/2-inch thick, or even thicker. We like the chicken grilled, but sometimes weather doesn’t allow for this. If cooking indoors, pre-heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. (My cast iron is perfect for this!) Add your high-heat oil to the pan. As soon as the oil begins to smoke, lay the chicken breast pieces in the pan. Let the chicken cook undisturbed for 6 or 7 minutes, until you have a good sear. Once seared well on one side, turn the pieces over and turn heat down to medium-low. (The other side will brown while the pan cools down a little.) Then, finish cooking breasts for another 6 – 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your breasts) until done and juices run clear.
Pasta and Veggies: You can start the pasta, chicken and broccoli all at the same time or cook the chicken first, and let it “rest” wrapped in foil while you cook everything else. That’s what I do, if my hubby isn’t around to be “the chicken guy” because multi-tasking is a challenge for me! While the chicken is “resting” start your water for you pasta to boil. Chop your broccoli up into bite-size pieces, and place in the steamer or pot with about ½ inch of water. You will want to turn that on when the water for the pasta starts to boil. Drop your pasta in, and cook according to package directions. When my pasta is done, I drain it, toss with butter and set aside while you check your broccoli. Broccoli is best (in my opinion) when it’s brightly colored, and beginning to soften.
Serve: Slice the chicken against the grain into strips. Serve over pasta with a good portion of broccoli and ladle the pesto sauce over all of it.