Courtesy of: Diana Gale from Domestic Goddess Wannabe
It is no secret that pasta water helps to bind pasta and sauce together to create a yummy and silky sauce.
The recipe I am sharing today is a classic example of how this is done.
When I am busy, which is a lot of the time, I like to use ready-made pasta sauces to make life a tad easier. But I prefer a good quality sauce (who doesn’t!!) that hopefully, won’t break the bank.
I love pesto sauces but they are (1) generally very expensive; and (2) they taste pretty bad – you know that strange plastiky taste? Yucks. When I tried the pesto sauces from The Real Food Market, however, I was totally blown away. Produced in Sicily in Italy by farmers in small batches, these sauces are rich, totally delicious and sold at very reasonable prices. Since the farmers grow the ingredients they use to make the sauces themselves, they are able to make produce of top-notch quality.
Today I am using a basic pistachio pesto to cook the pasta. I love pistachio, as long as I don’t have to shell them (hehe) and they lend a nuttiness that is so flavorful to the dish.
Since I love mushrooms, I added some to the dish as well. As pesto is quite a dry ingredient, I incorporated the pasta water to the sauce and this helps to emulsify the pesto and cooks down into a silky sauce. What I ended up with was something that is earthy and very moreish.
Let me show you how to cook this.
Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. In a skillet or casserole, brown the cubed chicken until they are cooked through.
Transfer the chicken into a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet or casserole, cook the mushroom and chopped asparagus until the mushrooms start to wilt.
Add the asparagus spears and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
Pour away the layer of oil in the pesto sauce (from the bottle). Lower the heat and add the pesto sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine.
Set this aside.
In a big pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions, taking 2 minutes off the recommended cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup (120ml) of pasta water before draining the pasta. Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water to the skillet.
Stir until well-combined. The sauce will thicken slightly.
Add the grated Pecorino, chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and chili flakes and serve immediately.