Pesto with Penne, Roasted Asparagus and Grilled Chicken

Finally, the Pesto Pasta of My Dreams

Assembling this pasta has four steps, all of which are super easy.
(1) Make Pesto (2) Marinate and Grill Chicken (3) Roast Asparagus (4) Cook Pasta According to Package Directions
Serve with Killer Garlic Bread and enjoy.



For the Pesto

  1. Place blades and bowl of food processor in freezer for 20 – 30 minutes (You can have it cooling down while prepping the ingredients in the next steps). Chill another bowl large enough to hold your pesto in the refrigerator.
  2. Toast pine nuts over medium-high heat in a small skillet, tossing to ensure even toasting, 1-2 minutes until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer immediately to a small bowl. NOTE: This step is optional, but it does add a nice flavor!
  3. Weigh (or measure) all ingredients, arrange mis en place
  4. Place all ingredients except oil into the food processor. Cover, and pulse gently several times until everything is nicely mixed together. Wait several seconds between pulses; the food processor must not be allowed to become warm.
  5. Begin drizzling in the olive oil. Add the oil a little at a tim, and continue pulsing gently, waiting a few seconds between pulses, until desired consistency is achieved. You’ll probably end up using closer to 1/4 cup rather than 1/2 cup.
  6. Transfer pesto to a chilled bowl. Stir in 1 -2 teaspoons of EVOO for flavor.
  7. If serving over pasta, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and run under cold water. Pesto is best served room temperature. Garnish with cheese of choice.

For the Chicken

  1. Butterfly chicken breasts if desired. Add to a large gallon freezer bag. Spoon 1/4 cup mayonnaise into bag with chicken, being careful not to cross-contaminate.
  2. Add 1/4 cup or so of the pesto sauce to the bag with the mayo and chicken, being very careful not to cross-contaminate.
  3. Reserve the remaining pesto (you should have about a cup or so)
  4. Seal bag with chicken, mayo and pesto, and squeeze out as much of the air as possible. Massage to ensure chicken is well coated and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours

For the Asparagus

  1. Break woody ends off asparagus, allowing them to decide where to snap
  2. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet (or, if no wire rack, just on a baking sheet is fine).
  3. Coat asparagus in avocado oil (or use the spray version to make it wicked easy).


  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to hot. Grill chicken on all sides until lightly charred and internal temperature registers 150°F on an instant read thermometer. Reserve to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest while completing the steps below
  2. Place asparagus 2 inches below a broiler set on high. Roast 5 – 7 minutes under direct heat until asparagus is lightly charred. Remove and set aside
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally
  4. While pasta is cooking, slice chicken into 2 inch strips and cut asparagus into pieces of similar length
  5. When pasta is cooked, drain and immediately return to the pot it was cooked in.
  6. To this same pot, add grilled chicken strips, asparagus, and reserved pesto. Stir to combine
  7. Turn heat on very low and stir everything using tongs or a wooden spoon until nice and creamy, 1 -2 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan cheese at the table



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