Lately our lives have been one adventure after another. Not only have we been dealing with our day to day lives and everything that usually comes with it, but we made a hugely insane (but fantastic) decision to move ourselves out of the Pacific Northwest and back to sunny Southern California!
We made the “decision” to move early in the year, and I say that with quotation marks because we made a decision but I honestly didn’t think it would work out. There have been so many “decisions” that we’ve made over the years but they never panned out. But as I type this blog in warm and sunny California I would say it panned out!
We made it happen, threw all of our belongings into a moving truck and storage container with a hope and a prayer that everything will work out.
It’s been a bit of an adjustment for the both of us since 95% of our belongings are in storage and we are living with a very generous family member. I’m still trying to learn where she keeps everything in the kitchen, and there are so many of my kitchen things I would love to break out but there is either not enough room in the kitchen for my huge amount of kitchen crap, or I can’t find it because its buried in the abyss of the storage unit..
Mostly it’s all buried. Always an adventure.
With all the insanity and not being settled in my own space, I was starting to really feel out of sorts. Cooking this seemed to help me feel a bit more normal.
This is one of those recipes where there isn’t really a recipe. It started when I was browsing Trader Joe’s one day (I love just walking around supermarkets, weird I know) and after picking up some regular pesto I saw this jar and suddenly got a hankering for some Sun Dried Tomatoes. I really had no idea what I was going to do with them but I had to have them.
Then I decided to throw them in a pan with some garlic and pepper to make some pasta. The husband was leaving for some sort of geeky get together and just before he left he tasted my creation.
He started to leave but then came back and stared at it until I gave him another bite. He was actually upset that he was leaving because he wanted to steal my dinner from me.
Nope. Sorry. MINE!
A few days later I made this pesto version of the same pasta. He loved it. He’s not a huge fan of the big chunks of tomato so I threw everything in the food processor instead of chopping it. It’s much easier then chopping the tomatoes and quicker too.
I find that putting the garlic in and pulsing for a few times first is better than just putting everything in together because I am not a huge fan of large pieces of garlic. This way I can make sure I get the tomatoes to the chunky level I’m looking for and not choke on garlic.
The nice thing about this jar of tomatoes is that once the pesto has been made it will all fit nicely back in the jar! I’m all about reusing the container.
I like to cook the tomato mixture for a little bit to get the bite out of the garlic and soften the tomatoes a little before adding the chicken.
Its just what I do.
There is no set amount of chicken per pesto ratio that needs to be adhered to. I only used two chicken breasts this time but they were large, and roughly half the jar of pesto. I like a lot of tomatoes.
When the chicken is fully cooked I liked to liberally sprinkle the chicken with Parmesan. There is no real reason why I wait until the end, I’m sure you could add it to the food processor and it wouldn’t make a big of difference. I generally don’t salt the chicken until the parmesan is mixed in, the cheese is salty enough that I don’t normally feel the need to add anymore salt to it once I have enough cheese.
Lots of cheese. Mmm cheese.
There are two options with the pasta. It can be added directly to the pan and mixed up that way, or what I normally do is add a serving of pasta and a serving of chicken to the bowl and mix it there. That way Husband and I can have our desired amount of pasta, he usually doesn’t take as much pasta as I do.
Like I said this is not really a “recipe” because it’s one of those “fly by the seat of my pants, lets throw it in a pan and see what happens” recipes. And awesome enough this is one of the Husband’s favorite dishes.
I also think this would be a great sauce to make to put on chicken parmesan also.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
Makes up to 4-6 servings for the whole jar of tomatoes, but only use what you need for a meal.
- 1 jar Trader Joe’s Sun Dried Tomatoes (I like these because they are conveniently in oil, I use the oil for the sauce)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic (this is for the whole jar)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts diced
- Pasta of your choice (I chose spiral because it grips the sauce nicely)
- Cook the pasta until it reaches the desired state of doneness.
- Peel the garlic and pulse in the food processor until it is in small chunks.
- Add the entire contents of the tomato jar and pepper. Pulse until at the desired consistency. I prefer mine in the slightly chunky realm but a full puree would work too.
- Add several scoops of the pesto to a hot pan over medium heat. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, then add the chicken.
- Cook until the chicken is fully cooked. If it looks like it needs some more pesto at any point, throw some more in the pan and make sure the garlic cooks a bit. It’ll be delicious.
- Mix in the Parmesan cheese. Add a few tablespoons at first before tasting it. Add more as needed.
- Serve over or mixed with pasta of your choice. Yum!