Monday, March 29, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Arugula Pesto and Caesar Spaghetti

Grilled Chicken with Arugula Pesto

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast (tenders removed)


Heat a grill pan to high.
Toast the nuts lightly in small skillet over low heat, then add them to a food processor.
Add the arugula, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine.
With the processor on, stream in the extra-virgin olive oil to form thick pesto.
Lightly pound out the chicken, then rub all sides with the pesto. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray or rub with a little oil and grill the chicken 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
Cook's Note: Serve sliced on top of Caesar Spaghetti or, pile it onto ciabatta bread with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for an outta-sight sammy.


Caesar Spaghetti

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 6 anchovy fillets, drained
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, eyeball the amount
  • 2 medium heads escarole, washed
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, according to package directions.
Heads up: you need to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining.
While the pasta is cooking, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the anchovies and cook until they've melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, stir 1 minute then add in Worcestershire. Shred the escarole and add several handfuls at a time, wilting the greens in the garlic oil. Dress the greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg, then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pan. Add the reserved starchy cooking water to the eggs in a small bowl and beat together to temper them. Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta and the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Add half of the cheese and toss vigorously for 1 minute. Dress the pasta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and transfer to a serving dish. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.
So I came home from work, changed my clothes and headed straight into the kitchen to fix my feast.  Altogether it took me a total of an hour and a half.  I'm sure it will take me half the time once I get used making this recipe a couple more times.  I didn't take as many pictures as I would have wanted to but then you would have thought the Tasmanian Devil had paid us a visit.  I really made a mess.  I cleaned up a lot of the mess as my hubby made me sit down and rest so that he could do the dishes (isn't he the most to say the least???)  :)
Anyways, Don wasn't too crazy about this recipe.  He wasn't too crazy about the chicken but really liked the spaghetti.  I guess he just thought the chicken had too many spices.  This pesto is spicy and it's got a lot of different kinds of spices that we're not used to from the arugula to the anchovies to the nutmeg.  I told him the chicken could also be eaten in a pita pocket so maybe he'll like it better that way.  All in all, I would make this again but will have to wait for Don to go out of town again.
Oh and by the way, this whole dish would be perfect to make for St. Patricks Day just because the pesto is really bright green and covered the chicken in green like a dye.

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