Sunday, July 14, 2013

Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

 Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves roughly 4-6

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. penne rigate
Zest of 2 lemons
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 large head broccoli, chopped and lightly steamed
1/2 fuji apple, raw and cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
10-15 bocconcini (mini balls of mozzarella)

1. Marinate the chicken breasts in 1 cup balsamic vinegar for at least 1 hour, then brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, sear on both sides, place in a baking dish, pour the marinade back over top, and bake at 350*F for 30-33 minutes depending on size. You can also grill the chicken. Set aside to cool.

2. Boil your pasta according to package directions (usually 9-11 minutes) in a large pot of salty water. Meanwhile, grab a large bowl and gently combine the red pepper flakes and a little salt and black pepper with the lemon zest, blue cheese, Parmesan, garlic powder, pesto, walnuts, broccoli, and apple chunks. 

3. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, remove it from your pot of water with a slotted spoon and add it directly (and quickly) to your bowl of ingredients. Stir gently but thoroughly, then season to taste with salt and pepper. 

4. Once it's no longer piping hot, add in your sliced chicken, the remaining 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, the bocconcini, and some chopped parsley. Toss gently and adjust seasoning as needed.

5. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Your guests will pass out with delight. :)

Property of Chef Madeleine Dee
Chef Madeleine Dee's Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.