August 27, 2012

Basil Pesto and Potato Chicken Recipes

I've made pesto for years and frozen it. All these years I've made it with pine nuts, and then freeze without the parmesan cheese - adding it as I use the pesto. Now I'm going to be making it with my soaked and dried walnuts instead of the pine nuts. And I'm not going to add the nuts when freezing, adding them as well as the parmesan when using. I'll occasionally still use pine nuts, but I'm liking the walnut variety better.

First put the basil leaves, 2 oz is about 2 cups, in a food processor. I've not tried making pesto in a blender, but it probably would work too.

Basil in food processor

Add 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic
pinch of salt

Process, then add 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan.

Walnuts, garlic, olive oil added to basil in food processor

Processed Basil Walnut Pesto

- I cook up a chicken breast or two in plenty of salted water to cover till tender. Remove the chicken to cool enough to shred.
- Cut a potato or two in match-stick pieces and add to the water you cooked the chicken in.
- About 10 minutes before you think the potatoes will be tender add about 1/4-1/2 pound of broken up fettucini pasta to the pot to cook till tender.

Match-stick cut potatoes cooking in chicken broth and added fettucini
My goal is to not have much liquid left by the time everything is done cooking. If you do have lots of liquid left, pour or ladle it off, or thicken it with arrowroot or cornstarch. Add the shredded chicken and toss with the pesto sauce and serve. I've made this with home-made pasta ... My favorite homemade pasta is sourdough pasta. I'll be posting that recipe in the future.

Potato, Pasta and shredded chicken, all cooked in chicken broth, tossed with basil walnut pesto

I made this pesto with my soaked and dried walnuts to test the flavor. Now that I know it's great, I'll be making a lot of the beginning process of the basil without the walnuts and parmesan for freezing - both in either freezer bags, containers, or ice cube tray portions.

For example - the ice cube portion of pesto is excellent on a baked halved tomato, adding the crushed nuts and grated parmesan on top, then broil a bit at the end. I use my frozen pesto on homemade pizza too. It's good tossed with cooked spaghetti squash and chopped tomatoes.  
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