Tomato and Almond Pesto with Penne

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The great thing about this dish is how easy it is.  Seriously.  Throw everything into a food processor to get your sauce, and just cook the chicken and pasta separately and then you're done!  Who doesn't love simple meals with a quick clean up?  I altered this recipe a bit.  I put my changes in purple in case you'd like to leave them out, but I thought the additions made this recipe much better. 

1/4 cup slivered almonds 
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes  
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves ( +1/4 cup basil leaves)
1 large garlic clove , minced  (+ 1 garlic clove)
1 small pepperoncini, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tsp salt & 1 tsp pepper  
Pinch red pepper flakes  
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 pound pasta 
2-3 chicken breasts

 Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.

Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, salt & pepper, chicken stock and red pepper flakes in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

 Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds. 

Meanwhile, cook chicken in skillet and season with salt and pepper.  

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot. Add pesto and chicken to cooked pasta and stir to combine!

And that's it!  SO easy.  And you can make this pesto up to three days before you use it.  Just cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge :]

<3 Saleena

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