Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta
Summer brings the bounty of the garden to front and center for us foodies. The abundance and variety of produce options either at the grocery produce section or from the home garden adds color and flavors to our tables that make us miss the Summer months when they're gone. This non-traditional pesto recipe substitutes almonds for pine nuts and adds roasted tomatoes to the mix. If you can find (or if you grow) heirloom tomatoes, definitely get/use them since they are typically more flavorful and unique than other cultivars. A major perk with this recipe, like our traditional pesto recipe, is that it puts up quite well and freezes quite well too, so you can preserve some of the flavors of Summer for later in the year, which always puts a smile on our face.
The chicken in this recipe can be cooked any way you prefer/like. We grilled, but smoked chicken is excellent here as is air-fryer, roasted, or baked. Pretty much all prep the same way (as described below). We like the background flavor that coconut oil adds to this recipe, but if you wanted to use something more neutral here, that's fine. In our preparation, we didn't add any additional seasonings once the pesto was completed because we added generous portions of Chain Reaction® and Cattle Drive® to the sliced tomatoes before we roasted them, but taste the final pesto and adjust as needed. After preparing this a few times, you'll get a good handle for how much seasoning to use on the tomatoes to get the right flavor profile in the final pesto dish. Toasting the almonds is an important step. Depending on your toasting method and/or oven, the whole almonds might need to be toasted separately from the slivered ones. The almonds should be at the point where they are just starting to give off some smoke, but not burnt. The "dark roast" on the almonds adds tremendous depth of flavor to this dish, but err on the side of caution (not burning them) the first few times you make this dish.
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
- 9 large tomatoes, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Uncontrolled Cattle Drive®
For the Pesto:
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed tightly
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 Parmesan Cheese
For the Chicken:
- 2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 Tablespoon Casa M Spice Co® Pecking Order®
Pulling the Dish Together:
- 1 pound dry pasta
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 10 basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 Parmesan Cheese
The "dark roast" on the almonds adds tremendous depth of flavor to this dish, but err on the side of caution (not burning them) the first few times you make this dish.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
Preheat your oven to 400°F and if you're going to grill the chicken, preheat the grill to medium-high heat (~400°F).
Put the chicken into a mixing bowl, coat lightly with the avocado oil, then season with 1/4 teaspoon salt per pound and the Casa M Spice Co® Pecking Order®. Using your hands, mix thoroughly to coat the chicken with the seasonings. Cover and let sit for an hour while the grill heats up.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Place the sliced tomatoes on the sheet and season generously with Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction® and Uncontrolled Cattle Drive®. Roast for about 70 mins at 400°F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting. You want them browned, but not burnt (see the photos).
Once the tomatoes are out of the oven and cooling, reduce the oven heat to 325°F, fill a pasta pot with well salted water, and heat it on high until boiling.
If you're grilling your chicken, put it on the grill. It will take about 10 minutes per side, but definitely use an instant-read thermometer to measure the internal temperature and pull it from the heat when it reaches 155°F internal temperature (it will continue to cook as it rests and hit 160°F). Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes while you toast the almonds.
Toast the almonds and slivered almonds for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and off the cookie sheet as soon as you pull them from the oven so they stop cooking and don't burn.
If you're baking your chicken, bump the temperature of your oven up to 400F and put the chicken into the oven. Cook time will vary depending on your oven and thickness of the chicken. Again, definitely use an instant-read thermometer to measure the internal temperature and pull it from the heat when it reaches 155°F internal temperature. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes while you make the pesto.
Start your pasta cooking (we used penne pasta, which takes 11 minutes to cook).
Add the almonds (not the slivers, which are garnish) into a food processor and process until chopped. Add the garlic and basil to the food processor and process until everything is finely chopped. Finally add the oil, cheese, and roasted tomatoes and process until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning with Chain Reaction® and Cattle Drive® to taste.
Slice the chicken, drain the pasta, and immediately portion out each portion into a small bowl, dress with a dollop of sauce, mix well, and then add to a plate. Add the sliced chicken on top of each portion and garnish with the toasted slivered almonds, basil, and more Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!