Thursday, April 24

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken, Peas, & Fava Beans

This pesto pasta with chicken and vegetables can be served hot or cold

Pesto Orecchiette Pasta with Chicken, Peas, Fava Beans

If you keep a well-stocked pantry and fridge, it's amazing how simple it is to whip up a quick and delicious weeknight meal. This pesto orecchiette was an impromptu weeknight meal that I threw together from a bunch of leftover bits and ends I had in my fridge. I've been getting in the habit of roasting a whole chicken every weekend, which we usually eat half of immediately and then shred the rest to keep in our fridge for snacking and to repurpose for another meal later in the week. I always buy a bag of arugula during my weekly trip to the farmers market, since I add a handful of it to garnish nearly everything I make these days. I also always keep a variety of dried pasta in my cupboards for when there's nothing else to cook (toss with butter and parmesan for the best dirt-cheap meal ever). This dish combines all of them, plus some random vegetables I had lying around and some homemade pesto I also had in the fridge. We ate this warm, but it would be just as good cold or room temperature in pasta salad form. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand (or use frozen peas), omit the chicken, or adapt it to whatever is currently taking up real estate in your kitchen.

Related Recipes:
- Pesto and Sundried Tomato Pasta
- Pesto Linguine with Farmers' Market Vegetables
- Pesto Orzo and Vegetable Salad

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken, Peas, & Fava Beans:
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt.
  • Add in 1 lb. of orecchiette pasta* and cook until al dente.
  • During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add 1 c. of fresh shelled peas to the boiling water.
  • Drain the pasta and peas, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking water.
  • Return the pasta and peas back to the pot over low heat, along with 1/2 c. shelled fava beans,** 1 c. cooked and shredded chicken, 1/2 c. pesto sauce, and some of the pasta water.
  • Stir to combine and until the pesto coats everything. Add more pasta water as needed to moisten and salt and pepper as needed.
  • At the last minute, stir in a few handfuls of wild arugula.
  • Divide the pasta onto plates and sprinkle with a little bit of grated parmesan cheese.

Serves four-six
*Or any small pasta, such as small shells.
**To prepare favas, remove them from their pod, add to boiling water for 1 minute, and then slip the beans out of their tough outer skins.