Fall is finally arriving here in Los Angeles.
We’ve dipped down into the low 70’s, rather than the typical low 80’s, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Fall makes me crave warm, comforting dishes.
Roasted meats, creamy pastas, squash of all kinds, and freshly baked bread.
Fall is such a fabulous time!
These slow-foods can take hours to make, so I have some quick & easy comfort-food recipes up my sleeve.
This is one of them 🙂
Sunflower seed pesto pasta with shredded chicken.
I mean, chicken & pesto are always a hit!
This is a 30-minute meal everyone will love.
Simply pan cook some chicken breasts in a mixture of olive oil and butter, shred into yummy morsels, & toss with some freshly cooked pasta.
Blend together a whole bunch of fresh basil, garlic, sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil for a fragrant herbaceous pesto & mix it all together.
Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated high quality parmesan cheese & flaky maldon sea salt & eat it up!
Sunflower seeds are an awesome alternative to expensive pine nuts.
It’s not authentic, but it still tastes fab. Walnuts & almonds work here as well!
I love to balance this rich bowl of pasta with some veggies.
Pan sautéed zucchini, a simple side salad, or any other fresh produce you enjoy makes a perfect complement.
It’s a great way to round out the meal & fill up with nourishing veggies.
- Basil is an amazing natural antibacterial. It contains a variety of natural oils that kill pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and S. aureus, which are common causes of food poisoning. Some researchers/anthropologists believe that humans began cooking with herbs and spices because of their antimicrobial properties. Since they helped us stay well, we developed a taste preference for them and continued to work them into our local cuisines.
Sunflower Seed Pesto Chicken
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Freshly cracked salt & black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 lb dried spaghetti pasta
- 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Flaky Maldon sea salt, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper. Add the butter & olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Swirl the pan to coat evenly and add the chicken breasts. Cook 6-8 minutes on each side, until the outside of the breasts are golden and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate, and let cool.
- As the chicken cools, add the spaghetti to the pot of boiling water & cook according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, make the pesto. Place the basil, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, garlic, olive oil, salt, & pepper in a small food processor. Blend until smooth.
- When the pasta is done cooking, drain & place in a large serving bowl. Shred the chicken breasts into bite sized strips and add to the bowl with the pasta. Pour the pesto over top & mix well by tossing with 2 large forks.
- Plate each individual serving, sprinkle with extra cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and flaky maldon sea salt. Enjoy with a nice side salad.