Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sweet Potato Orzo with Sprinach Pesto

Are you tired of hearing about Seattle yet? No?  Great cause I have another recipe stemming from a fantastic pasta purchase there.

One of my favorite things about Seattle was the temperature.  We left 90+ degree weather and so the low 70s that we experienced in The Emerald City was incredibly refreshing.  It also made me think of fall, and long for those wonderfully chilly nights when a steaming hot bowl of pasta is the perfect dish.  In the same heavenly spot that I found the chocolate linguine from yesterdays post, I also purchased Sweet Potato Orzo.  What could be more fall right?  Lovely sweet potatoes combined with heart warming pasta?  Perfect.

I had a ridiculous amount of fresh spinach in the fridge, that I desperately wanted to use up, so I decided that a nice, rich spinach pesto would pair perfectly with it.  I added cubed chicken to add a little extra protein.

Spinach Pesto
2 cups fresh spinach leaves (approximate)
3 cloves garlic, loosely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts
Juice of half of a pink grapefruit
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Juice of half of a pink grapefruit
Salt, sprinkle
1 tsp garlic powder
Olive oil

1 lb chicken tenders

1 ripe tomato cut into slices and the slices quartered

1/2 lb sweet potato orzo

I began by placing the spinach, garlic, walnuts, half the grapefruit juice, and parmesan in a food processor with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  I assembled the top and as it blended I drizzled olive oil through the top.  I probably added about 2 tablespoons of the oil, but basically it was just until the pesto became the correct consistency.  I tasted the mix and added more grapefruit juice until the taste was right.  With that, the pesto was done.

I decided, since I had quite a bit of time before dinner, that I would also marinate the chicken.  In a small bowl I combined the remainder of the grapefruit juice, an almost tablespoon or so of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and whisked until combined thoroughly.  I cut the chicken into bite size pieces, placed them in a plastic freezer bag and added the marinade.  I sealed the bag and let it hang out in the fridge till dinner.

A couple of hours later, when we got hungry for dinner, I browned the chicken in a small pan, and meanwhile I started the pasta cooking in boiling water.  When the chicken was done cooking, I added three heaping tablespoons of the spinach pesto, and then the tomato to the mix.  Once the pasta was done cooking, I stirred it into the mix as well, until everything was evenly coated with pesto.  Dinner was done.

I am 100% in love with this dish.  The spinach pesto was fantastic, the garlic was strong without being over whelming, and the grapefruit added a wonderfully unexpected citrus twist.  The pasta was not only delicious, but also added a lovely natural sweetness.  The combination of flavors was perfect, and I even could convince myself that despite the fact that this was pasta and pesto, it was still pretty healthy.  Fantastic.

Sweet Potato Orzo with Spinach Pesto...and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan
I think I need that pasta stand to open up here in Boston....or maybe I don't... Ha


Delicious Dishings said...

I have it on my list to make sweet potato gnocchi one day. This orzo takes the work out of it! Looks delicious. And I think the grapefruit juice in the pesto is so interesting.

Audrey said...

I want it to open here! (I think it's going to drive me crazy to know there's such a thing as sweet potato orzo and I can't get it.)
Your dinner looks wonderful.

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