Dinner For Two: Pesto Cream Pasta
So it’s Valentine’s Day and maybe salary came and went last month faster than Usain Bolt. Or maybe you’d simply like a change of pace from the usual restaurant dates. For whatever reason you’ve decided that you’re going to make Bae a lovely meal at home. Congrats! I applaud this decision. I believe everyone should cook. And besides you want to prove that you will not be useless in the marital home, no?
Now you’ve decided to cook, only one problem though: What exactly do you cook?!
Don’t worry, I am here to help you create a restaurant worthy meal that’s so easy you might doubt me. But go ahead and try it first before you question me. It will WOW your boo into proposing or into saying yes to that proposal.
You’re going to serve a beautiful 3-course meal. You don’t want to overdo it before they start asking jamb questions but you want to make sure they remember and tell their friends about it for a while.
First we’re going to do a lovely mandarin inspired salad with a bright honey vinaigrette that you’re going to make yourself, followed by a delicious pesto cream pasta and then we’re going to finish with some lovely Salted caramel cupcakes (that you will order from The Sweet Spot Bakery because struggle is not your middle name!)
Alright are we ready? Let’s cook!
Lettuce – 2 bunches washed and cut into bite sized pieces
Cashews- 1 hand full chopped
Tangerine- 1 peeled, segments separated and all fibers removed
Red onion- ¼ sliced thinly
Olive Oil- 1 cup
Balsamic Vinegar- ¼ cup
Honey – ¼ cup
Optional Lemon juice- 4 tablespoons
Making your salad is easy. Start with the dressing. Put all your ingredients in a bowl or jar with a tight screw on lid and shake it till everything is well combined. You’ll know when it’s properly mixed because it’ll all be one color. The lemon juice adds a nice citrusy taste to the dressing but you don’t need to use it if you choose not to.
Set your dressing aside. It’s pretty much ready. Just shake it again before you serve
For your salad, lay a bed of lettuce on a plate. Take your tangerine segments and arrange them on the plate, sprinkle your onion slices on. Don’t use too much! Otherwise your goodbye kiss will be a problem.
If you want to develop a bit more flavor in your cashew nuts you can put them in a dry non-stick pan (no oil!) and toast them over low heat for about 5 minutes. Make sure you move them around so they don’t burn. When your nuts have cooled down add them to the salad. Drizzles with your dressing and serve!
Now for your main course! This is one of my favorite things to eat ever! And pasta is my personal love language. If I insist on feeding you pasta every time I see you, it’s because I love you!
Basil- 2 cups of the leaves, picked and washed clean
Olive Oil- ¾ cup and extra to top
Almonds- Peeled and chopped
Parmesan cheese- 100 grams
Pesto Cream Pasta
Cream – 1 cup
Onion- ¼ chopped
Garlic- 2 cloves minced
Pesto- 4 tablespoons
Cherry tomatoes- 1 cup
Optional Dry pepper- 1 teaspoon (or red chili flakes)
Spaghetti- 1 pack boiled till al dente
Chicken Breasts- 2
Water- 4 cups
Salt- 4 tablespoons
Garlic- 3 cloves crushed
Black pepper- 2 tablespoons
First we brine our chicken. Brining the chicken will make them super tasty and succulent
– Rinse chicken breasts
– Put into a large bowl
– Add water, salt, garlic and black pepper
– Stir and set aside for 1 hour.
Next we make our pesto
– Grate your cheese and set aside
– Put your basil and almonds into a blender or food processor
– Pulse 3 or 4 times to start the crushing process
– Put the blender on medium speed and slowly pour in the olive oil
– Blend till it’s smooth (I like my pesto a little but chunky so I don’t blend till it’s completely smooth)
– Transfer the pesto to a bowl
– Mix in ¾ of your grated cheese
– Season with salt and black pepper to taste
– Set aside
Next we make our chicken
– Take the chicken brine out of the brining solution
– Rinse and then pat them dry with a paper towel
– Cut breasts into strips
– Place a nonstick pan on medium high heat and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil
– Pan fry the strips till cooked through then take out of the pan
And finally we make our full dish. For the Pesto Cream Pasta
– In the same pan you made your chicken, add a little more olive oil if necessary and then cook your onions till they are translucent
– Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. It should be smelling very nicely in your kitchen by now
– Add your cherry tomatoes and cook till they burst and release some juices
– Add your cream and pesto to the pan and stir to combine thoroughly
– If you want it spicy you can add your dry pepper or red chili flakes now
– Put your chicken strips back in the pan and coat with the sauce
– Add your spaghetti and mix in with the sauce till the spaghetti is completely coated and got
– Serve immediately topped with the rest of the grated parmesan cheese and garnish with a few basil leaves
For Dessert ask for your cupcakes with icing, cut one in half, warm it up and serve it with a scoop of ice cream. YUM!
You are now BAE OF THE YEAR. Clap for yourself! Side note you can always order your pesto from us at Heels in the Kitchen and cut out a step!