Tomato Pesto Penne Pasta with Smoked Gouda (and chicken)!
I’m not a big pasta person. I’m not huge fan of Italian food either. Exceptions include pizza, veal, spaghetti, prosciutto and a few other things. But, if the dish is light and tomato based, I am willing to give it a whirl. This dish is a take on a SELF recipe. It is easy and delicious and healthy for you! Packed full of protein and whole grain pasta. What’s not to love?
1/3 cup toasted almonds
2 cups loosely packed cilantro (or basil or parsley)
3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes (halves or pieces)
3 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil or more needed
1/4 lb your favorite smoked cheese (I used smoked gouda)
1/2 lb whole wheat penne pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
2. Cut chicken into chunks and season (salt and pepper or I used Trader Joe’s lemon pepper rub)
3. Cook chicken in a non-stick oven-safe dish and bake for 35 min or until cooked thoroughly
4. Combine the toasted almonds, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Pulse until slightly chunky.
5. Pour in to a bowl.
6. Cut cheese into small chucks and combine with mixture in bowl
7. Once the chicken is done cooking, cut into bite-sized piece or pulse several times in food processor and add to mixture. Toss.
8. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and toss immediately with pesto.