Summer food is all about lighter options. Heavy sauces and stews are a thing of the past, and now we’re all reaching for healthier eats that don't compromise on taste.
Pasta is one of those foods that people often think needs to be accompanied by a heavy meat sauce. That’s far from the case, as I’m about to show you with this delicious dish of farfalle pasta with chicken, pine nuts, basil and sunblush tomatoes. Not only is this dish incredibly tasty, but it’s also just as delicious cold – perfect for summer barbecues or to have with some green leaves as a salad. If you’re vegetarian simply omit the chicken. It tastes just as good on its own!
Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions. Then, toast three quarters of the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for a couple of moments – this will give them a really distinct flavour. Once they have turned golden, remove them from the pan.
To the same pan, add half a tablespoon of olive oil and add the chicken chunks. Simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Whilst the chicken is cooking, add the toasted pine nuts to a pestle and mortar along with the crushed garlic cloves and a handful of basil leaves. Grind a little before adding a quarter of the olive oil and mix well. Add the rest of the basil leaves and pour in the olive oil little by little, continuing to grind until you have a runny paste. Now add the parmesan and combine.
Drain the pasta and add the chicken and pine nut mixture to the farfalle. Mix well so that the sauce thoroughly coats all of the pasta, and then throw in the sunblush tomatoes and the remaining pine nuts.
This is the one dish I tend not to season, as I really don’t think it needs it. The flavour combinations of the parmesan and pine nuts give the dish the salt it needs and the basil and sunblush tomatoes balance out the salt in the nuts and the cheese. But don’t be fooled into thinking this dish sounds like your average chicken, pasta and pesto dish. Give this a try and you will realise it is so much more (delicious) than that!