Sunday, September 03, 2006
Chicken Penne with Creamy Pesto Sauce
Lis (of La Mia Cucina) emailed me last month asking me to send over something for the La Festa Al Fresco that she and Ivonne (of Cream Puffs in Venice) were hosting. The two of them were looking for dishes that represent Italian cooking and fresh summer ingredients. Here is my contribution. Happy end of summer, ladies!
The pesto is a variation of a recipe I found in Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian. The bechamel sauce is straight of out Joy of Cooking. I just put the two of them together. The bechamel helps to suspend the pesto so it's evenly distributed.
CHICKEN PENNE WITH CREAMY PESTO SAUCE
For the sauce:
2 cups fresh basil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
additional salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta:
1 pound penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cooked chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1) In a blender, pulse together the basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. With the blender on, slowly pour in the olive oil until the pesto is thick and creamy.
2) In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the milk and cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
3)In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to directions until al dente.
4) While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the chicken and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.
5) When pasta is done, drain and add to chicken and mushroom mixture.
6) Mix the pesto into the cream sauce. Add parmesan cheese. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over penne and chicken.
Makes 4 servings.