Pesto-Glazed Chicken Breast with Spaghetti
Provided by: Curtis Stone
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 9 ounces dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish
- 2 tablespoons torn basil leaves, for garnish
- To make the pesto: Using a Bump and Grind or another large mortar and pestle smash the garlic into a coarse puree. Add 1 1/2 bunches of basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped. Mix in the grated Parmesan cheese. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and smash to break them up.
- Slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.
- Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the pasta: Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking about 8 minutes. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.
- To serve: Using a two-pronged carving fork swirl some of the pasta around the fork. Slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving.
- Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a slight diagonal into 4 slices.
- Arrange the chicken slices alongside the spaghetti. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts, shaved Parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over and serve.
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