There’s something divinely lazy about the weekends. Free from the shackles of a rigorous schedule — where dinners must be made and consumed within thirty minutes and sleep is as ubiquitous as waking hours — come Saturday all culinary bets are off. On the weekends, one has time to go to the farmer’s market and speak with a meat purveyor to then learn that your chickens were processed a mere 48-hours ago. One has time to dice, chop, mince and roast. And speaking of roasting, it’s been ages since I’ve seasoned a chicken and cranked the oven, so today I absolved to savor roasted chicken with a sweet guest coming over tonight.
While this recipe appears complicated, I assure you it’s not. You just need to linger. The roasted chicken breasts wouldn’t be juicier, the marcona almonds deliver a subtle creaminess to the pesto, and the kamut pasta is hearty, healthy and utterly delicious. You’ll love the hearty, rustic thyme juxtaposed with the freshness of the basil pesto, and healthy dose of olive oil seals a perfect meal.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
For the roasted chicken
2 six-ounce chicken breasts, on the bone
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp fresh thyme
For the marcona almond pesto
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup marcona almonds (unsalted)
1/4 olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Salt/pepper, to taste
For the kamut pasta
2 cups kamut pasta, cooked al dente. Today, I used 8oz fresh kamut spaghetti
Pre-heat the oven for 350F. Since you have to be careful when working with raw chicken, measure out all of your ingredients and ensure you have your mis en place. Add the chicken breasts to a large bowl and rub both with olive oil until the chicken is completely coated. Add the seasoning to all sides, and place the breasts (bone side down) on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake the chicken for 45 minutes (I tend to like my chicken well-done and I use the thumb test. If the chicken doesn’t yield when you press your thumb into the meat, it’s well done). Once cooked, allow your chicken to rest on a rack for 15 minutes before pulling apart the meat. This will allow the juices to redistribute, yielding a succulent chicken breast.
While your chicken is cooling, blitz all of the pesto ingredients, streaming in the oil until you get a thick paste. Cook the pasta in a large salted pot of water until the noodles are al dente.
Once your chicken has cooled, pull apart the breast meat with your hands so that you have large chunks.
Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl with the pesto and roasted chicken chunks. Drizzle olive oil and fresh basil on top of the pasta and serve pipping hot!