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Recipe Thursday-Chicken, Asparagus, Pesto Penne

Posted on May 19th, 2011 | Posted in Main Course, Recipes

Now that asparagus is in season I really wanted to make a dish utilizing it! I came across a Chicken Florentine recipe that looked delicious so I subbed the spinach for asparagus and added pesto to create my Chicken, Asparagus, Pesto Penne. Sorry that the name lacks any creativity. The dish however was a great Springtime entrée with fresh light flavors. Enjoy!

Chicken, Asparagus, Pesto Penne

Serves 6-8


1 1/4 pound asparagus
12-16 ounces dried penne (991538)
3 chicken breast (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total) (332002)
salt (CQS030)
2 tablespoons olive oil (992055)
1/2 yellow or white onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 garlic cloves, minced (991057)
1/2 cup white wine or stock (991970)
black pepper (CQP065)
1/4 cup cream (HPH012)
1/4 cup (or more) pesto (990377)
fresh basil or parsley


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (You will cook both the asparagus and the pasta in the same pot of water.) Add a couple teaspoons of salt. Have an ice bath ready. Add the asparagus and cook until tender but firm, about 2-4 minutes. Remove the asparagus with tongs and place in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Cut the asparagus into 1/8-inch diagonal slices, leaving the tips intact.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the penne pasta and cook until al dente.

While preparing the pasta, cook the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and brown the chicken breasts on both sides over medium-high heat. They don’t need to be cooked all the way through, just browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the onions cook, slice the chicken into strips. Put any pieces that are cooked all the way through in one pile, and put the ones that still need a little cooking in another pile.

When the onions are just beginning to brown, add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the white wine or stock and boil vigorously until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the undercooked pieces of chicken to the pan. Using tongs, turn them over to coat them with the juices in the pan. Continue to cook, turning and stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add some black pepper, the pile of cooked chicken pieces and the pesto. Stir to combine. Drain the pasta put it in a large bowl. Add the cream to the saute pan and stir well to combine. Add the contents of the pan to the bowl with the pasta and mix well. Top with fresh basil or parsley if there is any readily available. Serve at once.

Adapted from simplyrecipes.com “Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta Recipe

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