Roasted Garlic Parsley Pesto and Blackened Chicken Pasta

Looking for a full-flavored chicken pasta dish that can work for a quick weeknight meal but is good enough for entertaining?  This is it, my friends.  By roasting the garlic you get a sweet, nutty flavor that really gives this pesto an amazing background flavor.  And you can make the pesto ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.  It will save for several days or even longer.  And by taking the shortcut of using your favorite blackening seasoning for the chicken this dish is so easy to pull off.  I added in some sliced cherry tomatoes at the end for color and a bit of freshness to the dish, which I think went really well, but you an mix it up and add your own favorite veggie or just leave it plain.  Paired with a salad and a nice glass of chardonnay and you have a wonderful meal.

Roasted Garlic Parsley Pesto
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the top 1/2 inch off the garlic head, exposing just the top part of the garlic, and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a ceramic roaster (for garlic) or in tin foil wrapped and pinched at the top.  Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender and golden brown.  Cool and remove garlic from the skins.
2.  Place the roasted garlic, parsley, pine nuts, grated parmesan, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine.  Stream in the olive oil and pulse to blend to desired consistency.

Blackened Chicken Pasta
1.  Cook pasta to al dente, according to instruction on the box.  Drain and set aside.
2.  Preheat a large skillet

Roasted Garlic Parsley Pesto
1 whole head garlic
2 cups loosely packed flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
3/4 cup grated parmesan
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup extra virgin oil, plus drizzle

Blackened Chicken Pasta
1 lb linguine or favorite pasta
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
2 Tbs blackening seasoning
2 Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
Shaved parmesan for garnish (optional)

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