A few weeks ago I was approached by Jutta, from The Hungry Little Girl, to join the Surprise Recipe Swap and I jumped at the chance! There are so many wonderful food bloggers that I have gotten know over the last year and a half, and I have always wanted to try their recipes, but for some reason I just never get it done. This gave me the opportunity to do just that.
You see at the beginning of the month we are assigned a fellow blogger and we then go to their blog and choose one of their recipes to recreate in our own kitchen. I was assigned Sheena, who I have know for quite some time. She is such a sweetheart and her blog Hot Eats and Cool Reads is wonderful and I always enjoy her posts! If you haven't checked her out, you need to! Just the photo on her header makes me drool every time I go to her blog!! Make sure to check out her Facebook page too. Give her a like and you will never miss any of her fabulous recipes!
I loved the sound of this dish the minute I came across it. I converted Kevin in a pesto lover a while back when he had my homemade pesto for the first time. I have been meaning to try different ingredients in my pesto like cilantro or spinach. So this was just perfect! When I told Kevin what I was making he of course had some input into the process. He isn't a big walnut fan, so I switched out the walnuts in the recipe for the traditional pine nuts, but I love walnuts so I am pouting a bit that I didn't get to try it Sheena's way. Maybe I will make a batch of pesto just for myself next and then I can have whatever I want in it.
I like to buy to rotisserie chickens from the store when they are on sale, and then bring them home, shred them, and freeze the meat for using in a quick weeknight meal. You should see Kevin's face when I come home with 4 whole chickens! Then he gives me the "look" because he knows he will be put in charge of shredding. But you have to put your kitchen staff to work sometimes right? So I of course had some all ready shredded in my freezer, therefor I went a head and swapped out the chicken breast for shredded chicken.
I am also addicted to using Greek Yogurt in a lot of recipes so I added a bit to the pesto. Actually, I have to admit, I was afraid there was too much garlic in the pesto because my garlic cloves were huge. I mean I love a ton of garlic, but was just worried Kevin wouldn't feel the same. I was racking my brains about what to do since I was out of pine nuts and I really didn't want to run back out to the store. Then the little light bulb went off in my head and I figured the cool tang of the yogurt would balance out the bite of the garlic. You always have to be on your toes in the kitchen right? Well it worked out perfect. Kevin told me he really didn't believe the pesto would have been too "garlicy" but he like the addition of the yogurt. It made the sauce very creamy.
Linguine with Chicken, Tomatoes and Spinach Pesto
adapted from the recipe on Hot Eats and Cool Reads
8 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups rottiserie chicken, shredded
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup spinach pesto (recipe below)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
6 ounces fresh spinach
1 cup parsley sprigs
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper as needed
Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasting, about 5 minutes. Combine all of the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until well combined but still rough-textured (You may not use all of the oil or you made need a bit more to get to the desired consistency). Add salt and pepper to taste. Store leftove pesto in the refrigerator or freeze.
Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions.
In a large skillet over medimu-high heat, saute the tomatoes until they begin to wilt, 2 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and continue to cook until chicken is warmed through. Add the pesto to the chicken and tomatoes and an additional minute or until heated through. Toss with the pasta and top with parmesan cheese.
I want to thank Jutta for including me in this wonderful group, I am so excited to see what the coming months bring to my kitchen. And a huge thank you to Sheena for such a wonderful dish to work with!!! If you would like to join the Secret Recipe Club and cook along side some pretty terrific food bloggers, click the button below and you will be taken to the information on how to join us
If you would like to check out the other Surprise Recipe Swap contributors you can do it by going here.