Pasta with ricotta, arugula pesto, and chicken

I bought a big ol’ container of ricotta close to a week ago and wanted to use at least some of it. And, I wanted to try another variation of Rachael Ray’s Ricotta Pasta recipes. BUT, while wandering around online, I found a recipe by Rachael for pasta with arugula and walnut pesto…I just happened to buy, on impulse, the other day, a big bunch of organically grown arugula when I was at Wild Oats. SO – I wanted to find a way to use ricotta and arugula in one dish. And, I did! Oh, also, I had defrosted a pack of four chicken thighs that I had cooked quickly in the pressure cooker to add to whatever pasta thing I made. FYI about 1.75 lb with bone and skin ended up to be about 3/4 lb of cooked meat (I peeled the skin and excess fat before I cooked it and then took off the bone.)

Here is what I did: I had partially defrosted the chicken thighs – enough so that I could peel off the skin, and then put them in the pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and probably around a teaspoon of dried basil and brought it all to high pressure, let it cook for 8 minutes, sit for 4, then ran the pressure cooker under cold water to bring the pressure down. After cooling a bit, I de-boned the chicken and shredded it by hand.

Then I made the pesto. I followed Rachael’s recipe except that I used all of the garlic infused oil when pulsing the pesto in the food processor. (See and search for Penne with Arugula and Walnut Pesto)

Then, I mixed the pesto with 2 cups of ricotta (low fat), and, contrary to the Ricotta and Pasta recipe, I didn’t cook the onions but chopped fine and added raw for some crunchy texture.

Cooked the pasta (I used Healthy Harvest brand whole wheat spirals) and mixed everything all together – the chicken, pesto and ricotta, raw onions – along with 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigino-Reggiano cheese.

I say YUM! Although, folks more picky than I am would have pulsed the pesto a bit more or would have been more careful to remove the stems down to the leaf of all the arugula – there are a few stem pieces in there. But, hey, that is how you know it is homemade.

It made enough for 4-6 servings, depending on appetites with still some leftover, I bet.

You know, I really want to do a cooking show. One of these days, I will approach my local public cable station to see if anyone might want to work with me on that. Well, dreams start as dreams. 🙂