Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

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Cutting up cooked asparagus

For this dish, I began by remaking the pesto that I had originally used in my pesto chicken melt. I decided to make this dish because I wanted to experiment more with pesto. This time when I made the pesto, I didn’t use as much parmesan cheese, because last time the cheese overpowered the basil and pinenut-y flavor.

While I was making the pesto, I began to boil the water to cook some noodles. While the water was boiling, I took my chicken out and cooked it in a pan over a medium-high heat. Once the chicken was done, I sliced it into thinner slices. Then I threw some pasta into the boiling water. I took my fresh asparagus and put it onto a grilling pan. I let the asparagus cook for about 8 minutes, and flipped them over half way through.

Then I simply combined all of my ingredients together. My mom and I both agreed that this is a great dish if you’re in a rush. Especially if the pesto is already made, this can be done in about 20 minutes, which is great for late-nights or nights when you don’t really feel like cooking.

Finished dish

Finished dish


Health: A-. Easy on the cheese. Of course it is pasta means carbs, but as long as it’s not every day – it’s fine.

Taste: A. One of the best dishes I’ve made so far.

Cost: B+. Pine nuts in the pesto are very expensive, but besides those everything is pretty affordable.

Overall: A-. I really, really like this dish.




Chicken Pesto Panini


Dicing garlic

Dicing garlic

I started by making homemade pesto sauce. I used my organic basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil.

While it seems like it would be an easy task, I had to learn how to even peel garlic. Thankfully, my mom helped mentor me, because she has made pesto many times before. She taught me the technique. First I separated the heads of garlic, then I pressed the flat side of the knife into the head. This made is much easier to peel the garlic. Then I diced them, but because I was going to be using a blender, I didn’t feel like they needed to be finely diced.

Then I washed the basil and picked the leaves off the stem. I added the basil and the garlic to the blender. The blender that I use is the magic bullet. After pulsing a couple of times, my magic bullet stopped working. I had to switch to a normal blender, but it was already so thick that it was quite a headache.

Once my pesto was finally done, I started grilling the chicken. I used a grilling pan to get the line effect on the chicken. While the pieces of chicken seemed thin at first, they actually took a much longer time to cook. As I was cooking the chicken, I heated up the panini grill and took two pieces of my organic, local bread out. I spread some pesto on both sides of the bread. Once the chicken was done, I sliced it to make it into thinner slices and put the chicken slices on top. Then I sliced some mozzarella cheese and some tomatoes and added them both to the sandwich. I carefully put the twice slices together and put them into the panini grill. I put the grill on a medium heat, but looking back, I probably should have put it on a medium-high heat, because it took a long time to melt the cheese. But it was so worth it!

Homemade pesto

Homemade pesto

The panini was delicious with the cheese melted and gooey. The pesto was very tasty and I could obviously taste the nuttiness of the pine nuts as well as the parmesan cheese. This is something that I would definitely make on a regular basis and just one sandwich was more than enough for my dinner.












Health: B+. Almost all of the ingredients in this recipe is local or organic (chicken, basil, bread, tomatoes) and the others are Trader Joe’s brand, which they claim is completely GMO-free. All of the ingredients are non-processed.

Taste: A. Great.

Price: B+. While some of the items, especially the pine nuts, are expensive, other items were very cheap, such at the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. The amount of pesto that I made can be used in at least two or three more servings.

Overall: A-. This is definitely something I would make again.