It’s that time of year when I want to be outside for every waking moment.
The temperatures are incredible. The sun is magnificent. The birds are chriping and singing and building nests. The tulips and irises are blooming and creating a spectacular blanket of color across the Oklahoma countryside. The breeze—well, I could do without Oklahoma’s “breezes”, if you know what I mean.
The springtime love affair I have is spilling over into my recipes. I want bright, light and veggie-packed dishes. I want something I can eat real quick so I can get back outside to explore and linger in the last remaining moments when Oklahoma weather feels good to be outside.
That’s where this meal comes into play. Nothing screams spring/summer to me like pesto. It awakens your tastebuds like they were in a months-long hibernation. It’s a bright (and light!) sauce that can be made into both warm and cold dishes.
I mixed mine up with some whole wheat spaghetti, cooked balsamic chicken, tomatoes and zucchini. It was a fantastic use of flavors and evoked the mood I was in when it comes to the season.
You can speed this meal up by using already cooked chicken. I had some leftover chicken in my fridge and just chopped it into bite-size pieces and mixed in at the last minute to warm it up a bit. Be careful not to add at the beginning of cooking or you will overcook it.
If you like your zucchini more tender, cook for a few extra minutes. I like my zucchini barely cooked so that’s why the cooking time is so low.
There’s not a lot of seasoning in this dish so the pesto can really be the star. If you want, you can add garlic powder and oregano to the veggies as they saute, or whatever seasonings you prefer.
Pesto Chicken Spaghetti
A simple springtime meal with pesto, spaghetti, tomatoes and zucchini.
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Saute for just a few minutes, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken, reserved pasta water and pesto and remove from heat.
- Toss spaghetti with veggie-chicken-pesto mixture. Serve topped with parmesan.