Nut-Free Pesto with Pasta and Veggies

Today was a hard day for me. Grandma would have been 91 today. While it was easy holding things together to get through my workday, after work was another story. I had made plans to pick up a bundle of Gladiolas and bring them to her. I got extra lucky and my Fiance had finished work a little early and was able to be there with me and help me get the flowers situated  in the vase. After a few emotional moments we headed home and decided we should make a recipe of grandma’s that I have tweaked and changed. Grandma’s recipe is a basic pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, with olive oil. My recipe includes the addition of chicken, and a pesto instead of using just oil to coat the pasta

20190812_1631126637389299058216408.jpg I start by prepping the chicken and cutting them in half through the middle so that they will be thinner pieces and will cook more quickly. I just add a little salt and pepper to the cut breasts and pass them off to my fiance. He prefers to have the chicken cooked on the grill. While I wait for the chicken to be cooked, I start getting my pot for pasta coming to a boil and get some butter melting in a skillet for my veggies.

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I slice up my veggies and toss those in the skillet with salt and pepper and let them cook. Once the pasta water come to a boil I add in my pasta. This time we used fettuccine but literally any shape will work for this recipe. Once everything is cooking make sure to keep the heat on low so that we can make the pesto without worries of burning or over boiling.

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Pesto is pretty simple. Though unlike a normal pesto, I cannot eat pine nuts so this recipe is nut-free! I add in all the needed ingredients, garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, and then blend.

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Typically I blend for a few seconds, stir the stuff on the stove and repeat 3-4 times. The pesto will look a little watery but all the pieces should be finely chopped. Once the pesto is ready I let it sit until the pasta and veggies are finished cooking.

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When the veggies are cooked I shut off the burner and let them sit until the pasta is ready. Because I used fettuccine it takes just a little bit longer to get all the noodles cooked.  Once the pasta is ready I drain out the water and flip the noodles into the skillet with the veggies. I add in a glob of butter and mix it around to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

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Once the butter is melted I pour the pesto onto the pasta and mix it around. You need every bit to be coated by the pesto. I know this doesn’t look like much sauce but it is enough for the amount of pasta and veggies.

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Once the pesto is fully mixed into the pasta, I plated my pasta and veggies into a bowl, added my chicken and of course some Parmesan cheese! Its definitely a favorite anytime I make this recipe there is usually no leftovers!


Ingredients

  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 or 2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 container of Basil, leaves only
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 4-6 cap fulls of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. thinly slice chicken breasts. Add salt and pepper to taste. cooked until no longer pink in the middle. let it cool then slice up into bit-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil. Add in pasta. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a skillet. After most of the butter has melted, add in the chopped squash and zucchini.When the veggies are cooked turn off heat.Once pasta is cooked drain water and add pasta to skillet with veggies.Toss in remaining 3 tablespoon of butter into pasta noodles to avoiding sticking.
  3. While pasta and veggie are cooking add basil, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to a blender. Blend for 5-10 seconds using the blend setting. repeat 3 to 4 time until pesto is watery and have fine basil and garlic pieces. Pour pesto over pasta and mix until  well combined.
  4. Serve pasta in a bowl. Add the chicken and Parmesan and enjoy!

Meaty Zucchini Pasta Sauce

I occasionally get bored with my normal pasta sauce routine. Brown some ground meat dump some sauce in and let simmer. I recently felt like I needed to change it up a bit. So I wandered my grocery store until I found this combination to try with my sauce.

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I start this off by chopping up some prosciutto and throwing it into a skillet with some oil. The pieces will stick to each other, which is fine. I try to break up the clusters of meat as much as possible while the meat gets crispy.  The meat will need to be stirred around occasionally to make sure all parts are crispy.

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Once the meat is nice and crispy, I add in the zucchini and summer squash pieces to the skillet. I cook this down quite a bit, sometimes it is necessary to add a splash or 2 of  water to keep everything from sticking to the skillet. I also add a very small amount of salt, a generous amount of black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Keep the use of salt to a minimum since there is a lot of salt in the prosciutto. But you will need to add a  little salt to help break down the squashes.

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Once the zucchini and summer squashes have been cooked enough, I pour a jar of tomato sauce into the skillet. It is important that almost all of the liquid is gone from the skillet before adding in the tomato sauce.The water needs to evaporate away otherwise your sauce will be too runny. As the sauce simmers I taste test and adjust the seasonings. It is important to not add any more salt at this point, otherwise it will be a very salt sauce. While the sauce is simmering away I cook my pasta. Once the pasta is cooked I drain the water and add some butter to it to help prevent the pasta from sticking to itself once the water is gone. I do not run cold water over the pasta after it has been drained of water. I use the heat of the pasta to melt the butter.

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After the pasta is cooked I add a little into a bowl. Then add my sauce to it. And of course some parmesan cheese goes on top. Then enjoy!


Ingredients

  • splash of oil, canola or olive
  • 1 package of prosciutto
  • 1 zucchini, cut to your liking
  • 1 summer squash, cut to your liking
  • pinch of salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
  • cooked pasta
  • 3 Tbsp of butter, preferably unsalted

Directions

  1. Set a pot of water and bring to boil. Set up your skillet with a splash of oil with the heat set to medium. Allow the oil to warm up and coat the bottom of the skillet.
  2. Add chopped prosciutto to skillet. allow the meat to get crispy. Stir occasionally to help get the meat evenly crisp. Once the prosciutto has reached desired crispiness, add in the cut zucchini and summer squash.  Stir around a little bit then add in the salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir to prevent the veggies and meat from sticking. If oil is completely gone and there is some sticking add a splash of water.
  3. Once the veggies are fully cooked add a jar of tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine ingredients. Set stove to low and allow to simmer. Add pasta to boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked drain and add 3 Tbsp of butter to noodles and stir.
  4. Serve up and top off with parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy