Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto, Grilled Chicken Breasts, and Feta

Total Time:
55 min
Prep:
30 min
Cook:
25 min

Yield:
8 to 10 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 bunch fresh arugula, tough stems removed, washed and spun dry, plus baby arugula, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/4 cups crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pitted olive-cured olives
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Directions

Preheat a grill. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with salt, pepper, and essence. Place on the grill and cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes on the first side, and 5 minutes on the second side. Remove the chicken from the grill and cut into cubes.

In a food processor, combine the arugula, parsley, walnuts, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and process on high speed until the greens are finely chopped. With the machine running, add the extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and shock in an ice bath and place in a bowl. Toss with some olive oil so it doesn't stick.

Toss the pasta with the arugula pesto, to taste. Let cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled. Toss the cubed chicken, red and yellow tomatoes, feta, and olives to the pasta, and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve, garnished with baby arugula.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.


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