1 pound short pasta shape
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup olive oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup onion, diced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
9 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh basil, packed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than directed on packaging. Drain well and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, toss to coat, and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until chicken is opaque and cooked through, about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pot and add onion, cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until spinach begins to wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add pasta. Stir to combine.
4. Combine pine nuts, red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, and remaining 1 teaspoon garlic in food processor. Pulse until blended and scrape down sides with rubber spatula. Add basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Pulse until completely blended.
5. Heat oven to broil.
6. In pot used to cook pasta, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir until smooth and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Add milk, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pesto, 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
7. Stir pesto sauce and remaining lemon zest into Dutch oven and stir well to combine. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese and broil until pasta is heated through and top is golden brown and bubbly, about 4 to 6 minutes.
This recipe is from Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders. The flavors were pretty great, I’m a fan of pesto, spinach, chicken and pasta. However, the dish was just wet. I’m not sure if I should have thickened the béchamel longer or what, but I sort of think this should be baked for a bit at 350*F instead of just broiled. I believe that would make for a better dish.
This was definitely tasty and I might revisit in the future, but I would have preferred a less runny dish.