January – Basil Pesto Pasta to Start Out the New Year

The new year means a new set of recipes for our meals of the month. For January, we chose a recipe we found on Facebook/Buzzfeed for Creamy Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta. It’s a one-pot recipe and we had most of the ingredients already, so it was the perfect choice for us to get back into the swing of things.

Regarding the ingredients, we stayed pretty true to the recipe, save actually measuring out the salt, pepper, and garlic. The actual cooking process is where we had to stray a bit, and where this recipe review could be helpful.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup spinach
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • ½ cup pesto
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • Parmesan
  • Fresh parsley

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. (Edit: I would recommend medium, or even low-medium, heat so you don’t burn the pan or bacon.)
  2. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, then remove.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened. When onions are caramelized, add spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Add milk and bring to boil. Add fettuccine into boiling mixture and cover.
  5. Cook fettuccine on medium heat until milk thickens and pasta is cooked, about 7 minutes. (Edit: 7 minutes is not long enough, so keep cooking until the noodles are done. Be sure to keep pay attention and stir frequently because the milk will boil over and make a mess.)
  6. Add the chicken back to the pot. Stir in the pesto and Parmesan.
  7. Top with parsley and additional Parmesan.

So this recipe was delicious and pretty easy to make. You can’t beat a one-pot recipe! I’ve never been too impressed with a basil pesto, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was! The noodles had such a good flavor, and so did the chicken.

We were dumb, though, and didn’t test the noodles to make sure they were done before adding the chicken, so we had to cook everything a bit longer when we discovered they weren’t done. This extended cooking process dried the chicken out a tad, and ended up burning the bottom of our pan. But everything tasted fine, so no worries. Just remember to stir frequently (because milk curdles and sticks to the bottom and makes it hard to clean), and make sure the noodles are cooked thoroughly.

So here it is, our January meal of the month.

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