Pesto, Cherry Tomato & Chicken Penne Salad

With summer just around the corner, let's make this Pesto, Cherry Tomato & Chicken Penne Salad that will accompany your barbecue quite nicely.

It is a very easy recipe to make, and will be whipped up in less than 30 minutes. Just remember that the penne have to rest in the fridge for 45 minutes.

The following ingredients are for 2 to 4 portions, so feel free to adjust your quantities if you are cooking for more or less people, or according to your taste.
You will need:
  • 125 grams of mini-penne pasta*
  • 210 grams of chicken breast tenders, or chicken breast wholes.
  • 15 to 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons of basil (fresh basil is better, but dry basil works too)
  • 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 7 to 8 minutes
Resting time: At least 45 minutes in the fridge

Start by cooking your pasta per the package's instructions (in my case, it was 7 to 8 minutes for al-dente pasta).

In a pan, pour a bit of olive oil, heat up your pan, and place the chicken breast tenders to cook.

Once one side is cooked, turn the breast to cook the other side.

Turn one more time until you get a nice brown coating.

Let the pieces cool down few minutes, and then cut them into pieces.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half ...

... and if it bothers you like it bothers me, remove the core of the tomatoes.

Prepare your pesto.
In a bowl, mix the basil and the parmesan cheese.

Then add the olive oil and give it a good mix.

By that time, the mini-penne should be cooked.
Strain the pasta into a strainer, and then pour some cold water on it to cool it down.

All your ingredients are now ready to be stored in the fridge, giving at least 45 minutes for your mine-penne to cool down.

It is now time to assemble your salad ...

... which will be only four simple steps.

First, pour your mini-penne in the salad bowl.

Second, add the cherry tomatoes.

Third, add your chicken pieces.

And finally, after giving your pesto a good stir, add it the the salad, and mix. (If you like your pesto a bit thinner, add another tablespoon of olive oil).

And voilà, your Pesto, Cherry Tomato & Chicken Penne Salad is ready.

Now it is time to fire up that barbecue, and enjoy!

*Note: I used mini-penne, because I think it is more pleasant to eat the mini version of the penne with this salad, but feel free to use some other pasta such as elbow macaroni, penne, or bow-tie.

As with all the other recipes we put on this site, this is meant to be easy to follow. We are hobby chefs who love to cook, and we are always up for learning new techniques. If you know of anything in this recipe which can be done a different way, whether for increased ease of preparation or better taste, please add a comment below!

Whipped up by Charline Leblond

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