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Pesto tossed spaghetti with lemon verbena grilled chicken

Recipe by:Executive Chef Ed Glebus
San Diego State University

Ingredients

  • Toasted almond and arugula pesto
    2 cups canola oil
    Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    1 tsp. agave nectar
    5 cups fresh arugula
    1 cup fresh basil leaves
    1 cup toasted almonds (see note)
    Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chicken and spaghetti
    5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    1 cup white wine
    4 tbsp. chopped lemon verbena, plus more for garnish
    2 tbsp. agave nectar
    2 tbsp. black pepper
    1 tbsp. salt
    Olive oil
    1 lb. high-quality spaghetti
    1 pint assorted baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
    1 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions

For pesto: Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend until just smooth.

For chicken: Place chicken in a plastic zip-top bag with wine, lemon verbena, agave nectar, pepper and salt, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade, season with additional salt and pepper and grill. Finish with chopped lemon verbena and olive oil as it rests from grilling.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain, toss with 3/4 cup olive oil (or canola oil) and cool to room temperature. When cool, toss with 3 cups pesto. Place pasta on a plate or platter. Top with grilled, cooled chicken, heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese, and drizzle with remaining pesto. This dish is best slightly warm or at room temperature.

Note: Toast almonds in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until fragrant.

Serves 4 as an entrée or 6 to 8 as a buffet

Califonia Bountiful