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Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta with Chicken
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A slight chill is finally filling the air in southern California after what truly felt like an endless summer (no complaints here!). And with the dipping temperatures, fall’s classic flavors are making their annual mark on menus everywhere. The star of the autumnal show? Pumpkin, of course!
While I’m all for pumpkin desserts of every variety (but mostly this no-bake treat, which claims my top spot), there’s something about a savory pumpkin-inspired dish that really hits all the comfort food notes in a single bite. Behold, pumpkin seed pesto!
Pesto has made many appearances across these pages, from pistachio pesto and pea pesto to asparagus pesto and kale pesto. You name the ingredient, we’ve transformed it into pesto that’s perfect for tossing with pasta, slathering across pizza or rolling up into chicken roulades.
Now you can make the most of all of those leftover pumpkin seeds by pairing them with kale, garlic and Parmesan, giving them a quick buzz in the blender and then tossing the purée with your choice of noodles.
I first shared this recipe as part of my Whole Foods Market expedition, where I shared my tips for shopping on a budget and stocking up on a whole bunch-o-groceries to whip up a week’s worth of meals. Head on over to check out my shopping tips or keep on scrolling for this seasonal spin on an Italian favorite paired with perfectly seared chicken breast.
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Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta with Chicken
- 2 1/2 cups lightly packed kale leaves
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for 15 seconds them transfer them into a sieve. (Leave the boiling water on the stove to use for the pasta.) Using a spatula, press the kale leaves firmly into the sieve to release as much water as possible then transfer the kale leaves into a blender.
Add the toasted pumpkin seeds, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper to the blender and pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. With the blender running, stream in 1/3 cup of olive oil and continue blending, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed, until the mixture is a smooth puree. Set the pesto aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken breasts then season them liberally with salt and pepper.
Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil to the heated pan. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and allow them to cook until they naturally release from the pan. Flip the chicken breasts once and continue cooking until they reach 165°F and are no longer pink. While the chicken cooks, add the linguine to the pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes.
Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the pesto to the bowl, tossing to combine. Slice the seared chicken breast and serve it alongside the pasta
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
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