Last night, I tried my hand at homemade pesto. It was so much better than storebought! This is my variation on a recipe by Curtis Stone aka Take Home Chef.


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil leaves (I used the entire package)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces dried farfalle
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley

Cooking Instructions

To make the pesto: Using a mortar and pestle smash the garlic into a coarse puree. Add basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped. Mix in the grated cheese. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and smash to break them up. Slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. The pesto was still pretty lumpy so I transferred it to my food processor for a few quick pulses. Set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat. Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare the pasta: Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.

Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a slight diagonal into 4 slices. Arrange the chicken slices alongside the spaghetti. Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts.

I was quite pleased with this dish and it met with my hubby’s approval. I will definitely be making this again!