What’s Cooking, Chicken with Arugula Pesto

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I love Pesto, I have made it from spinach, of course basil and now Arugula! In it’s most basic form it’s something green, cheese, garlic, nuts, salt and oil. I love this kind of cooking because it leads so much to improvisation and creation. Add this, don’t add that, blend a bit more of this, it’s up to you. Rarely do my dishes taste the same, it depends on how I’m feeling that day, my mood and what my body is craving. And today, I did a lot of physical exercise playing paddle tennis and trimming a lemon tree, a very thorny one. So my body wanted something very healthy, yet very flavorful, it was EJlicious! So if that sounds like where you’re at you will enjoy it. Stay tuned, tomorrow’s Friday and I have a feeling my body will be craving the opposite of healthy and lite. Enjoy!

See below for recipe:

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces orecchiette or any pasta you like (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces or broccoli
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons almonds or hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs; about 3 minutes before the pasta is done, add the green beans. Drain the pasta and beans and rinse under cold water. Toss with half of the cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest and salt.

Preheat the broiler. Puree the arugula, parsley, nuts, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons water, the remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to taste in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Rub all over with 1/4 cup of the arugula pesto and broil, turning once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up on another baking sheet and broil 2 minutes. Spread each with some pesto and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Broil until golden, 1 more minute. Serve the chicken, tomatoes and pasta salad with the remaining pesto

 

More on the power of Arugula

A research team studying the natural health benefits of arugula1 discovered that it could be associated with fighting gastrointestinal ulcers, possibly through the many antioxidants it contains. Other studies have linked it to relief from gastric ulcer and psoriasis, as well as protection from skin, lung, and mouth cancers. And I thought it just tasted good!

 

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