COOK: Macaroni Casserole with Chicken Basil Pesto

This is not my first time creating a homemade pesto. I usually like to combine it with spaghetti, gnocchi, over a baguette, pan-fried chicken, and even as a pizza base. But this time i used it with macaroni & made it as a casserole dish :)  

Quick How-To:

  • Chicken breast + onion, diced. Sautee onion over a heated pan coated with butter, then add diced chicken breast, cook until the chicken is tender enough for about 2mins.
  • Add fresh homemade basil pesto mixture (see recipe below), add some milk to thin the sauce, and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  • Finally add your boiled macaronies, salt, blackpepper, & stir well until it's all coated. 
  • Put in casserole dish & add grated cheese on top. Bake in 180C degrees for about 10 minutes, enough for the cheese to melt.

There you go! Classic pasta dish perfect for dinner. Although the pic above is not how the final result looks like, it's a pic before i added the grated cheese & bake it (can't believe i forgot to take a pic before it's ruined by our hands! :p)

The homemade pesto itself, i'd rather call it a low-budget pesto because i substitute a lot of ingredients just because it's not easy to find them here in Jakarta, at our local nearest supermarket! LOL. I know it tastes different than the original pesto (the ones you can find bottled in a TINY jar in supermarket for 70K rupiahs), but yeah.. why not :p 

Low-Budget Pesto (Indonesian Style :D)

  • 2 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Quickmelt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mixed nuts - in this case since i was desperate looking for pine-nuts, i substitute them with Kacang Mayasi Koro-koro + Garlic Mr.P Peanuts, hahaha.
  • Salt, sugar, & blackpepper for seasoning

To make pesto you need a food processor (or blender/hand blender, but food processor is much preferable). First, combine basil & cilantro leaves, garlic, and mixed nuts, then pulse a few times in processor. Add garlic, salt, a hint of sugar, then pulse again until it forms a thick mixture. Then slowly add olive oil while the food processor is still on, make sure it's in a constant stream. Final step, add grated Quickmelt cheese & some fresh blackpepper to taste.

Some tips, you can put the pesto under tight-wrapped container into the fridge for about quite a long time, as long as you decided to put the cheese later. It's always good to have freshly grated cheese!