Simple creamy chicken and mushroom pasta with bright, tasty basil pesto is a perfect, easy weeknight dinner. Leave out the chicken for a vegetarian feast.
These last two weeks have been absolutely manic and I couldn’t believe that my last post was exactly two weeks ago. I feel like I’ve been neglecting this little blog baby of mine and I am working very hard at rectifying the situation. But you know, life happens. The kids went back to school from their Easter break, I had to prepare for a talk I was giving about blogging and food styling at the very first Food Styling course presented by Zahra Media Group at the SA Chef’s Association and in between that still had to finish various shoots and articles for clients. When I looked at my schedule yesterday, I was delighted to see that I didn’t have ANYTHING happening this week. Not a single meeting, appointment or deadline and that means an entire week dedicated to creating, styling and photographing food for Simply Delicious. YIPEEE!
Last week when I was in the middle of all the chaos, I wanted something quick and easy for dinner but something that still delivered a serious punch of flavour. I had a few chicken breasts in the fridge and a punnet of mushrooms that were close to their expiry date and decided to whip up a simple chicken and mushroom pasta. This is the kind of food you eat out of a bowl, on the couch while you just give yourself a few minutes to regroup and chill.
Chicken and mushroom is such a classic combination but I wanted to amp up the flavour and decided to turn my sad-looking basil plant into a few jars of bright green pesto. The pesto added a lovely pop of flavour to the creamy pasta and turned this average, weeknight chicken and mushroom pasta into something a little special. I love food like this. Simple, homey and whipped together in a matter of minutes with minimal effort. Especially on weeknights when you just couldn’t be bothered. I’d love to know what you cook on nights like this and what your go-to lazy recipes are so let me know in the comments below!
Creamy chicken and mushroom pasta with basil pesto
for the pasta
- 2 chicken breasts cubed
- 250 g mushrooms sliced
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 4 sprigs of thyme leaves removed
- 250 ml cream
- juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- 500 g linguini cooked
for the pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 100 g pine nuts toasted and cooled
- 1-2 garlic cloves depending on taste
- 50 g Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup-3/4 olive oil depending on the consistency you're after
- salt & pepper to taste
- To make the pesto, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped but take care not to blend too much as the pesto will form a paste.
- Heat a large pan over high heat then add a splash of oil.
- Fry the chicken until golden brown then remove from the pan and add the mushrooms.
- Allow the mushrooms to fry until golden brown.
- Add the garlic and thyme and add the chicken back to the pan.
- Allow to saute for 2 minutes then pour in the cream, lemon juice and lemon zest. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes then season to taste and toss with the pasta.
- Serve with the pesto.