Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dinner Divas: Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle

I know I am totally late on this one!! For this month's Dinner Divas I wanted to try both the Rachel Ray Mexican Lasagna and the Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle from Cooking Light. But, I only got to try one.

I decided to do the Chicken Pesto because I've never had pesto and I had extra chicken from the roast chicken I made a little while ago. So, it turned from Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle to just Chicken and Pesto Farfalle. Also, it added to my Pasta Quest! Even though I've had farfalle before, I hadn't had the pesto.
Here's the recipe:

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle (courtesy Cooking Light)

* 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
* Cooking spray
* 20 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 (3.5-ounce) jar commercial pesto (about 1/3 cup)
* 3/4 cup half-and-half
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
* 4 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 2 pints)
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I omitted the basil since I didn't feel like going to my mom's to steal some from her garden)


1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 10 minutes or until done, turning after 6 minutes. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces; keep warm.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Place pasta in large bowl.

4. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in pesto. Gradually add remaining 1 cup milk and half-and-half, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 8 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 cup cheese; stir until cheese melts.

5. Add chicken and sauce to pasta, tossing well to coat. Add tomatoes and basil; toss gently. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Serve immediately.

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