Pesto tossed spaghetti with lemon verbena grilled chicken
Goat cheese, tomatoes and a toasted almond and arugula pesto share the plate with spaghetti and wine-marinated chicken breasts.
Executive Chef Ed GlebusSan Diego State University
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Toasted almond and arugula pesto
2 cups canola oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. agave nectar
5 cups fresh arugula
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup toasted almonds (see note)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chicken and spaghetti
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup white wine
4 tbsp. chopped lemon verbena, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
1 lb. high-quality spaghetti
1 pint assorted baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
For pesto: Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend until just smooth.
For chicken: Place chicken in a plastic zip-top bag with wine, lemon verbena, agave nectar, pepper and salt, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade, season with additional salt and pepper and grill. Finish with chopped lemon verbena and olive oil as it rests from grilling.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain, toss with 3/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil) and cool to room temperature. When cool, toss with 3 cups pesto. Place pasta on a plate or platter. Top with grilled, cooled chicken, heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese, and drizzle with remaining pesto. This dish is best slightly warm or at room temperature.
Note: Toast almonds in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant.
Serves 4 as an entrée or 6 to 8 as a buffet