Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe

We are proud to be Italian Americans. And, having studied in Florence, Italy {all of us}, we are really proud to be Italian and are in love with the Italian culture. Sometimes we wish we could call Italy home at least 6 months of the year. And, I know all 3 of us wish we were fluent in the language. I don’t know how {yes, we do…they are wonderful, good men…and have those dreamy blue eyes that were foreign in our family}, but all 3 of us fell in love with Irish and Scottish men. Go figure.

Today, in honor of Christopher Columbus, the explorer, navigator and colonizer of Italian descent, and Columbus day, we are sharing one of our favorite pasta recipes we make for our families, so you too can celebrate this Italian holiday. Don’t forget to pair with a bold red vino – Brunello di Montalcino is our fave!

BTW, this is not a fat-free recipe, but you have to give yourself permission to indulge every once in a while.

Creamy Pesto Pasta
serves 6
{recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Shrimp with Linguine in a Pesto Cream Sauce}

1 pound linguine, or spaghetti noodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pound sliced chicken breast
2 tablespoons Essence {homemade from Emeril recipe below}
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto {store bought or homemade}
1/4 cup reserved cooking water
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Set a large 1 gallon stock pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add noodles.
Set a large saute pan over medium high heat.
Add the butter and olive oil to the pan.
Once the butter has melted, season the chicken with 1 tablespoon Essence and add to the pan.
Cook until no longer pink. Then remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute
Add the cream, pesto, remaining tablespoon of Essence seasoning and bring to a boil.

Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and reserved cooking water, and cook tossing to incorporate ingredients together for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from heat, add cooked noodles and sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve and enjoy.

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning
{by the way, this is a great spice to add to potatoes for eggs and potatoes in the am, veggies and we season baked chicken with it all the time}
2.5 tablespoons Paprika
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

 Buono Appetito!

{images via Tutto Bella}