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kale pesto pasta with broccoli rabe, tomatoes and chicken


This is not your mother's kale pesto recipe.  I don't know, maybe your mother doesn't have a kale pesto recipe but you should consider trying this recipe and sharing it with her.  I keep looking at my photo and thinking the chicken looks like artichoke hearts.  I'm thinking you could substitute artichoke hearts for the chicken and I think it would be a delicious vegetarian pasta dinner.  I bought two boxes of whole grain rotini during my pantry hoarding phase of COVID, just to be healthy and all that.  I wasn't sure I would love this pasta but guess what it's amazing with all it's nooks and crannies to hold kale pesto; a whole grain pasta with personality.  I will buy more for my pantry, it's a keeper for sure.  Ps. this kale pesto pasta is good leftover for lunch the next day.

Ingredients and Recipe for Kale Pesto Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Tomatoes and Chicken 
Serves 4-6

1 cup packed chopped kale
1/2 cup packed arugula
1/2 cup packed sweet basil
4 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
1 garlic clove, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
Broccoli rabe, one bunch- ends trimmed and cut in pieces
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon Aleppo pepper 
8 ounces whole grain rotini pasta

In the bowl of a food processor add the kale, arugula, sweet basil, sunflower seeds, garlic, salt and pepper.
Process until smooth stopping to scrape down the sides with a spatula.  Slowly pour in the 1/4 cup olive oil while the motor is running, the pesto mixture should be smooth and spoonable.  Transfer the pesto mixture to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese, set aside.
Season the chicken pieces with sea salt and black pepper.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a 12 inch skillet and add the broccoli rabe, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, cook and stir until crisp tender, stir in the tomatoes.  Cook until tomatoes are soft, remove mixture from skillet and set aside.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a 12 inch skillet, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and cooked through.  Stir in the reserved broccoli rabe and cherry tomato mixture.
Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil and cook the whole grain rotini until al dente, drain the pasta, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Stir the pasta into the chicken mixture along with the pesto and reserved hot pasta water, as needed to thin the sauce.
Serve on a platter with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


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