one of the first recipes i ever bookmarked on bakedbree was this little number for zucchini pistou (which i learned is french pesto). i don’t have a food processor back at my apartment, so i waited for a night at home in connecticut to cook it up and it was a hit!
it’s so light (no butter, only 2T of oil, minimal cheese and the tiniest bit of light cream), but feels hearty and satisfying when you eat it. my mom gladly took leftovers for lunch and my dad (shockingly) said he wouldn’t change anything if he made the dish. that’s a sure sign of a winning dish, my friends.
i also decided recently that i would love to learn a few french phrases because i took spanish for 10 years in school and never learned more than “oui” or muzzy’s friend’s trademark “je suis la jeune fille!”. does anyone else remember that? give yourself a refresher here. HA!
anyways, inspired by recently re-watching julie & julia, i wish you bon appetit!
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, sliced
3 chicken breasts
1 cup torn basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, chopped
large sweet onion, chopped
pinch of salt, pepper
pasta (your discretion how much you’d serve per person)
1/4 cup light cream
if you’re done collecting, let’s move onto the doing!
it seems like there’s a lot of multi-tasking in this dish, but i tried to order my instructions in the most user-friendly way possible :)
the things you should do first to set yourself up for the rest of the recipe are as follows…
first, slice your zucchinis lengthwise and lay them with the flat surface down. slice them in uniform sizes across the board. heat one Tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the zucchini. let the slices cook for 5-7 minutes, until they’re golden and softer. once they’re done cooking, transfer them to a plate to let them cool.
next, poach the chicken breasts in either water or chicken broth for 10-15 minutes. when you take them out of the water, let them cool for a bit and then slice them into bite size chunks. set those aside, too.
boil your pasta in lightly-salted water. before draining it, make sure you save 1/3 cup of the starchy water it boiled in and set that aside. then, drain the pasta and put that aside. if you haven’t noticed, you’re going to have a lot of stuff on the side.
in a food processor, put 1/4 cup of the cooked zucchini slices, all the torn basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and chopped garlic. pulse until it’s all well-blended, gorgeous, fragrant and speckly (see below):
add the pasta reserve water and pulse it again until it’s a little more liquefied and well-blended. set the basil mixture aside (shocking, i know).
heat the remaining Tablespoon of oil to a large pan and add the roughly chopped onion. let it cook for 12-15 minutes until they are translucent and browned.
to the onions, add the zucchini, chicken, pasta and basil “sauce.” aren’t you glad you had everything ready to go, now?
toss it all together so it’s all evenly coated and then let it simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until it’s all warmed through. make sure you grab a noodle with some sauce on it to see if you want to add any salt or pepper and then season as you see fit.
garnish each plate with any extra basil, parmesan and pine nuts you’ve got and voila! (see? i know french already!)
click here for a printable version of the recipe!