There were rave reviews all around for this Avocado Penne Pesto with Grilled Chicken! The avocado brings a creaminess and delicious flavor to the sauce and may even be better than traditional pesto!
1 medium ripe avocado
3/4 c. firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz. penne pasta
1/4 c. shaved parmesan cheese (for garish)
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper, to taste (for chicken)
Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, season chicken with salt and pepper and place on a grill (or grill pan) over medium-high heat for 6 minutes on each side, until center is no longer pink. You can add other spices if you want, but don’t over-season your chicken, we want the avocado to shine!
Peel avocado and remove pit. Put avocado, basil, salt, pepper, garlic and pine nuts in a blender or food processor. Turn blender on and add olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
Process until mixture becomes a smooth paste. Gently fold in parmesan cheese. Toss with cooked pasta. Slice grilled chicken breasts and lay across top of pasta. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese and serve.