What's better than great food, great friends and a great photo to capture the moment? That is what this blog is - creativity from kitchen to camera. We are having a blast looking for challenging recipes (or making up our own!) and documenting the cooking process with serious photographic effort.

Come along with us on our journey to discovering new culinary delights and the making of food-tography!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Artichokes & Sundried Tomatoes

Bobby Bowden has always stressed priorities, and he always said his top priorities were "faith, family, then football."  This makes one wonder about the importance one places on the things one holds near and dear.  When one has a particularly guilty pleasure it makes one self conscious about how important said guilty pleasure is relative to other things in one's life.  Confused?  Somewhat irritated by the excessive use of "one"?  Okay, I'll get to it: I'm a Rush fan.  A really big Rush fan, and I've been so since my cousin Lou took me to the Moving Pictures tour in March of 1982 when I was in 7th grade.  I've only missed one tour since then.  So when Bobby Bowden says his priorities are faith, family, then football I become rather self-conscious about how important in my life three guys I've never met are.  I mean a REALLY big Rush fan.

I'm such a dork I go to a Rush news website every morning.  Neil Peart (peert, not purt) is the drummer and lyricist, and he has a website where he writes usually monthly about his life and what he's doing, where he's going, etc.  When he posts a new entry I know how I will spend my lunch break that day.  One subject he has covered is his love of cooking (finally you see where this is going), and he recently took it farther to include a cooking section to his website, which he calls Bubba's Bar & Grill.  I was overjoyed that a guy from my favorite band was going to share with me the things he likes to cook.  I realize all of you find this to be another reason to dislike me, but I don't care, and you can each help yourself to a caustic retort on your way out.

With the nerdy, annoying, uncomfortable introduction behind us we can finally get to the food.  I picked a recipe on opening day of Bubba's Bar & Grill, and my family loves it.  It's extremely easy, it has a little wow factor, and it incorporates one of my trademarks in that the name is the shopping list.  Behold: chicken pesto pasta w/ artichokes & sundried tomatoes.  That's everything.

Let's get the pasta boiling, shall we?  We prefer bowtie pasta for this.  Now, one chicken breast per person gets cut into bite size pieces and then goes into a pan of very hot oil.  Some may ask why the oil needs to be very hot before you add the chicken.  If you toss the chicken into room temperature oil the chicken will absorb it, which is disgusting.  Tossing the chicken into very hot oil instantly sears it keeping the juices in and the oil out.  So concludes the teaching portion of whatever this is.

And you're pretty much done cooking.  I'm serious.  Turn the chicken to brown all the sides.  Add a can or two of quartered artichoke hearts including the canning liquid.  The steam will keep the chicken tender. We use 2 cans to 3 breasts because Tammy calls the shots.  Canned is usually a lot less expensive than bottled, and there's no difference.

Meanwhile mince some sundried tomatoes and toss them into the party to get a little juicier and tenderer.

After the pasta boils 10 minutes, drain and add it to the other ingredients.  Or return it to the pasta pot and then add the chicken and veggies to it.  I have no idea if there's a difference, so just base it on which pot is bigger.  Then add pesto sauce.  This is what I think adds a little wow factor, simply because I rarely see or eat pesto.  I use two 6.3 oz bottles of Classico.

At this point I like to kick up the flavor of the pesto by introducing some fresh basil.  I trim a bit from my basil plant, pluck the leaves (in the Bubba's Bar & Grill t-shirt my sister gave me for Christmas), roll them up like a - uh - cigar, and dice.

If the wine isn't open by now you're stupid.  Toss, mix, combine, plate, garnish, turn up the Rush CD, and enjoy. 

Coincidentally, this posting coincides with the start of the newest Rush tour.  Yes, that's right.  Coincidentally it coincides with it. Coincidentally, the band has decided on this tour to play Moving Pictures in its entirety.  Yes, that's right.  The album from my first tour back when I was in 7th grade.  The tour began last night in Albuquerque (I swear on my own eyes I can spell that without looking it up), and it culminates October 2 (where?) in West Palm Beach.  And guess who has tickets.