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Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto

Chicken Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto

Download the recipe PDF. View the YouTube video.

Serves 4.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from an Internet recipe.

A fan of my YouTube channel suggested I try making pesto with fresh spinach leaves. I had never heard of this idea. I couldn’t even imagine the flavor. So I did some research and came up with this recipe. I was completely surprised at how delicious this pesto is. It would make an excellent substitute in winter when good fresh basil can be difficult to find.


For the Pesto:
2 cups packed (4 ounces/113g) fresh spinach leaves, washed and stems discarded
½ cup (¼ ounce/7g/about 20 sprigs) fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, stems discarded
½ cup (2 ounces/57g) walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 to 3 cloves garlic, depending on size
¼ cup (1 ounce/28g) freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil, more if you like an oily pesto
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Chicken and Noodles:
1 large (12 to 14 ounces/340 to 400g) boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons pure (cooking) olive oil
Scant pinch of salt
1 pound (454g) fettuccine noodles or other pasta (such as penne)


Place the spinach, parsley, nuts, and garlic in a sturdy plastic bag and pound with a mallet until the leaves are well bruised and the juices begin to flow. Meanwhile, be heating the water to cook the pasta.

Transfer the spinach mixture to a food processor and add the cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process until blended. Adjust for salt, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and cover. The pesto can be made up to several days in advance and refrigerated in a jar with a little oil pooled over the top to prevent discoloration.

Thinly slice the chicken breast along the grain (lengthwise) to reduce breaking up while cooking.

Heat a couple tablespoons of pure olive in a skillet. Add the chicken and sauté lightly until the chicken changes color and is just cooked through. Do not overcook. Salt lightly.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Add the pesto to the cooked chicken and stir to blend evenly. Add the drained pasta and turn to coat evenly.

Plate and garnish with additional cheese, or place cheese on the table for dinner guests.

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