Part of the fun of cooking in The Bachelor’s Kitchen is trying new things. I found a recipe for Pesto Chicken Florentine that sounded pretty good. But as happens so often, I ended up making substantial changes to the recipe and I think those are improvements. So, what follows is my version of that recipe.
In keeping with my effort to increase my vegetable intake and cut back on meat, most of my changes reflect that. Also, I added more spice and cheese to the dish while using lower fat jarred Alfredo sauce. I think you could easily add more vegetables to this dish, like steamed broccoli, fresh peas or other greens besides spinach.
Also, as I could not find the dry Alfredo sauce mix the original recipe called for, I used a Light Parmesan Alfredo in a jar. And instead of Romano cheese I used Parmesan, and a lot more of it.
Before you gasp at my using a jarred sauce when I preach so often about processed foods, remember that I DO read labels. Therefore I can tell you that this jarred sauce was very close to what you would make at home. The only difference was: 1) the use of a preservative, which is common in nearly all prepared foods; and 2) the use of a chemical emulsifier (derived from a natural source but not commonly found in most homes) to replace the fat that would otherwise be used.
This is a three pot recipe, so clear off your stove top. You’ll need a large skillet, a small saucepan and large pot for cooking pasta. While the recipe calls for penne pasta, I see no reason why you can’t use just about any other pasta you like or have around.
Pesto Chicken Florentine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of your personal spice mix (you do have one, don’t you?) or salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, I like garlic, but you may want to use less
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon rice or red wine vinegar
- 1 12 oz. salad bag fresh spinach leaves, I know it seems lik a lot, but it cooks down to very little
- 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (see note above about light sauce)
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons pesto, I used jarred stuff, which is just fine
- 1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
- 3 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute; then add chicken and cook until all pinkness is gone. Season chicken with your own spice mix or salt and pepper to taste. When chicken is close to being cooked through (no longer pink inside), sprinkle on vinegar. Add spinach and saute all together for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a small saucepan. Stir in ground black pepper. When hot, stir in pesto; keep warm.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
- Pour pasta in large mixing bowl. Add chicken/spinach mixture and enough pesto Alfredo sauce to coat. Add Parmesan, mix well and serve.
Prep Time: 10 Min; Cook Time: 35 Min; Ready In: 45 Min
Calories: 572, Total Fat: 19.3g, Cholesterol: 84mg