A Quick Dinner Between Stops: Tomato, Asparagus, & Pesto Salad with Chicken

A Quick Dinner Between Stops: Tomato, Asparagus, & Pesto Salad with Chicken

It pays to plan ahead. I get mocked for it all the time, but I don’t care. Last weekend I spent the afternoon making pesto out of the abundance of basil that is all over the place this time of year. It’s quick, simple, fragrant, and delicious. Just 5 ingredients: basil, garlic, toasted nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. I make it in the food processor, package it in handy-size containers, and stow it in the freezer for later. It’s amazing how often prepared pesto can get me out of a weeknight jam when there is only 20 minutes to make dinner before I have to run out the door for a client appointment, board meeting, or what have you.

All these veggies pair nicely with pesto on their own, so I thought I might as well toss them all together. Same goes for the chicken. I seasoned the chicken breasts with just simple salt and pepper, instead of doing anything that would compete with the pesto.

In an effort to add a little body to the sauce (which is really just pesto), I cook the orzo as I would a grain – a 2:1 ratio of liquid to orzo (when it’s finished cooking, it looks like a pot of rice). That way I can use all the starchy goodness that comes from the pasta when it cooks to give the sauce a little more heft. Cooking it in chicken stock just imparts that much more flavor. The only thing the recipe lacks is some crusty bread to go with it (which I happened to have on hand).

I know this is short, but that’s all the time I have – I’m running back out the door.

Tomato, Asparagus, & Pesto Salad with Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthy and great-tasting dinner you can have on the table in 20 minutes. Prepared pesto saves the day again.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 C orzo
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
  • ½ C frozen corn, thawed
  • ¼ C prepared pesto
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add chicken stock, orzo, and salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Simmer until al dente, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid will be absorbed by the orzo.
  3. While orzo is simmering, preheat skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Season chicken breasts with salt & pepper.
  5. Add 1 T olive oil to skillet and sauté chicken 6-8 minutes per side.
  6. Remove from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
  7. As chicken rests, add remaining olive oil to same pan and sauté asparagus for 4-5 minutes.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine grape tomatoes, corn, pesto, asparagus, and orzo (with remaining chicken stock).
  9. Toss to combine and check seasonings.
  10. Slice chicken and serve atop orzo salad.

 

This post is reblogged from my earlier site, Inexpensive Eating

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