Tag Archives: Olive oil

Roasted Sweet Pepper Pesto and Chicken Pasta

Roasted Sweet Pepper Pesto and Chicken Pasta

There are days when things get super hectic.  Today was one of those days.  Time got away from me and I had to prepare dinner quickly.  This is one of those dishes that packs a punch nutritionally along with exceptional taste and all that under 30 minutes.  I had picked up some great food bargains at the grocery earlier which included gorgeous red, yellow and orange bell peppers and fresh flat leafed parsley.  Armed with all these colors and textures I was ready for a quick meal of pepper pesto.  “Pesto” in Italian  means to pound or crush, basically what you’d do with a mortar and pestle.  You can make a “pesto” out of a myriad of combinations not just the traditional Basil Pesto.  Roasting the vegetables intensifies the flavors and makes the pesto a rich and delicious delicacy.  This one was definitely a winner!

Sweet multicolored bell peppers

Chop up the peppers and onion and season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil

Add a ramekin with garlic and olive oil to the pan and roast at 375 for 20 minutes

Roasted peppers, onions and garlic

Blend pepper mixture, garlic, parsley and olive oil together

Saute blended peppers in reserved garlic flavored olive oil along with cooked chicken

Toss with pasta and serve

Dinner was a success!

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Sweet Pepper Pesto and Chicken Pasta

5-6 variety of red, orange and yellow bell peppers cut into large chunks

1 large red onion, cut into chunks

6 whole cloves of garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup rough chopped flat leafed Parsley

16 oz Fuscilli, bow tie or a curly noodle

1 cup cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

In a large 5 quart pan bring water and salt to boil for the pasta.  In the meantime cut the bell peppers and onion into large chunks, toss with salt and pepper and  a little drizzle of olive oil and place in a large cookie sheet.  In a small ramekin or oven safe bowl, place the whole, peeled cloves of garlic and pour in 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Place ramekin in the corner of the cookie sheet filled with the peppers and onions and roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Take out the roasted peppers and onions and place them into a food processor, add the whole garlic cloves and the Parmesan cheese.  Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the garlic flavor oil, reserving a couple of tablespoons.  The peppers and onions should get blended well.  Add in 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leafed parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate.

In a large skillet heat the reserved garlic flavored olive oil and add the pesto mixture and stir for a few minutes.  Add in chicken  and cooked pasta and toss together.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

Spinach Chicken Alfredo

Spinach Chicken Alfredo

It’s Spring Break time.  My house is full of 8 hungry college students who arrived famished from a road trip.  I decided to use the Spinach Basil Pesto http://kolpona.com/2012/03/17/spinach-basil-pesto/ I just put together to come up with a pasta dish.  It turned out great if the empty plates were any indication.

Ingredients at a glance


Heat butter and olive oil together

Saute garlic to release the flavors

Add pesto to the mixture then add flour and stir to cook through.

Add milk and cream until mixture thickens.

Add cheese to sauce and let it melt

Add cooked chicken to the sauce

Add fresh Spinach leaves and take off the heat.


Add Pasta and toss to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately! Serves 6


Here’s the recipe:

Spinach Chicken Alfredo

16 oz of Fettuccine

3 whole cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

4 tablespoons of Spinach Basil Pesto (see recipe)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons of flour

1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken cut into pieces

large handful of fresh Spinach leaves

1 pint of Heavy Cream

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of Parmiaggiano Reggiano Cheese

1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese

In a 5 quart pan boil water with 5- 6 tablespoons of salt (should be like sea water) and cook pasta for about 8 minutes.  In the mean time, in a large skillet heat olive oil and butter.  Add salt, fresh cracked pepper and minced garlic and sauté about a minute until garlic releases its fragrance.  Add spinach pesto and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add flour to the mixture and cook for about a minute to get the starchy flour smell out.  Slowly begin to add heavy cream and whole milk and stir until mixture begins to thicken.  This should take about 3-4 minutes.  When mixture has thickened nicely, add parmiaggiano Reggiano and mozzarella and stir until melted and incorporated into a smooth sauce.  Add chicken to the mixture.  Add in cooked pasta and toss.  Serve warm with fresh grated cheese on top.

Spinach Basil Pesto

Spinach Basil Pesto

I was recently at Whole Foods and I couldn’t believe how much they were charging for a 6 oz container of pesto.  I am NOT about to pay almost $5 for something that can be made in seconds and taste so much better fresh.  I love fresh Spinach and since today also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day I wanted to make my version of fresh pesto. After all its so green!!  Spinach and basil makes a great combination.  So delicious, so versatile!

Ingredients at a glance

Toast the Pine nuts in a dry skillet

Mix all ingredients in food processor

This is the glamour shot.

I love to store the pesto in individual packages, usually in a 1/2 cup or 1 cup servings along with the date.

Then I put the individual packs inside a bigger ziplock bag and freeze them.  They keep for 3-4 months in the freezer and you can just heat it up to use it with pasta, as a pizza sauce, with chicken dishes.  The possibilities are endless.

Here’s the recipe:

Spinach Basil Pesto

4 cups tightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves

1 cup of fresh basil

½ cup pine nuts, toasted

5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

½ cup olive oil

½ cup Parmiaggiano Reggiano cheese

In a dry skillet add the pine nuts and heat over medium high heat until lightly brown and toasted.  Should only take about 4-5 minutes.  Let cool.

Place all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor and turn it on, in a slow drizzle begin to add olive oil through the dispenser until mixture is well incorporated.  Take out and serve immediately with any type of pasta, with chicken or pizza sauce or can put in individual ziplock bags and freeze for up to 4 months.  Cost per 1 cup serving (8 oz)  is only 50 cents.  A far cry from the price of $5 for 6 oz.