Am a basil fan and I usually get my craving for this awesome spice through a nice bowl of Vietnamese beef pho or the ‘Three-cup-chicken’, a popular Taiwanese dish. There are two types of basil though – Thai Basil, the popular Asian version and the Sweet Basil, usually used for Western dishes.
The Thai basil, although possible to be blended, has a sharper, stronger taste whilst the Sweet basil is subtler yet, has that unique lovely taste. For this recipe, we’ll be using the Sweet Basil 🙂
Rather than ordering the pesto at the restaurant, tried my hand at it at home with some minor changes and it’s definitely something we are making again. Another adaptation that I did to lower the cost of the meal was to use cashew nuts instead of the usual Pine nuts.
- For Pesto Sauce:
- 400gm Sweet Basil (~ 2 packs)
- 80gm Cashew Nuts
- 100gm Parmesan Cheese
- 3 cloves garlic
- 180ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (standby more to drizzle)
- 1 tsp salt
- Rest of the Ingredients
- 600gm Chicken Fillet (or just select 6 pieces chicken fillets)
- 1 pack Spaghetti (remove about 1/3 from it)
- salt (for taste)
- black pepper (for taste)
- Marinade the chicken fillets with salt and pepper for at least 20 minutes.
- Fill up a large pot with water up till the middle with a generous serving of salt - about 2 'real' tablespoons. When the water is boiling, put in the spaghetti and leave the cover open.
- Pan fry the marinated chicken fillets till golden and set aside.
- When the spaghetti is 'al dente' and to your liking, drain the water and keep about 1 cup aside for cooking later. Put the spaghetti into an 'ice bath' and drain again to stop the pasta from 'cooking further' due to the internal heat.
- The Fun Part: Start blending on low and drizzle with olive oil until the ingredients start to mix and is able to blend nicely. Gradually add more olive if the ingredients are not blending well.
- Add in salt, mix, taste and adjust till you are happy with the level of saltiness.
- Start up the wok and put the pesto sauce in to cook. You will notice it turning into a dark emerald green colour.
- Add in the spaghetti and toss it all around till well mixed. Drizzle a little of the leftover salt water onto the pasta if the wok is heating too much. Remove and plate.
- Add the pan fried chicken fillets on top, grate more cheese if you would like and serve!