Pasta pesto with garlic & rosemary chicken

Cooking for a large bunch of people, I often have to adapt the recipe a little. I love this recipe below, the homemade pesto is easy to do and very yummy. The beans I left on the side, in a huge bowl and scattered more Parmesan cheese over it. I did replace the fennel seeds with Italian herbs, nice too. But if you are cooking for a smaller group just follow the method below. -enjoy-


Ingredients (serves 4)

For the chicken:
2 x 200 g skinless free-range chicken breasts
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
4-5 cloves of garlic
1-2 fresh red chillies
8 ripe cherry tomatoes
250 g green beans

For the pasta & pesto:
1 big bunch of fresh basil
50 g blanched almonds
50 g Parmesan cheese , plus extra to serve
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
300 g fresh lasagne sheets
200 g baby spinach


On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, fennel seeds and the rosemary leaves • Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin • Put into the frying pan with the rapeseed oil, the bashed unpeeled garlic cloves and halved chillies, turning after about 3 or 4 minutes, until golden and cooked through • Line the beans up and cut off the stalks, put into the casserole pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook for 6 minutes with the lid on
Pick a few basil leaves for garnish, then rip off the stalks and put the rest of the bunch into the processor with the almonds, Parmesan, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice • Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher • Blitz until smooth, adding a ladle or two of cooking water from the beans to loosen, then season to taste • Slice the lasagne sheets up into random handkerchief shapes and add to the beans to cook for a couple of minutes • Halve or quarter the tomatoes, add to the chicken and give the pan a shake
Stir the spinach into the pasta pan, then drain, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water • Return the pasta, beans and spinach to the pan, pour in the pesto from the processor and stir together, loosening with splashes of cooking water until silky • Slice the chicken breasts in half and serve with the tomatoes and chilli spooned over the top • Finely grate a little extra Parmesan over the pasta, then sprinkle everything with basil leaves


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