Pascal Pasta is a beloved Eagle family recipe named after our favorite cartoon chameleon.
Pascal Pasta is actually pesto pasta, but when I first made it for Abby and Katie they saw that it was green like Pascal from the animated film Tangled, and the word “pesto” turned into “Pascal” in their brains. That was about five years ago, and I would bet that they still to this day do not know it is actually made with pesto.
I started making my own pesto when I learned how easy and fresh it was in culinary school. Then I started cooking for kids and trying to get veggies in any way I possibly could, so the classic basil pesto got a makeover.
The pesto in Pascal Pasta is my own Spinach Basil Pesto made with almonds instead of pine nuts. This gets mixed in with a touch of pasta water and a generous scoop of cream cheese to form a sauce.
Chicken is our star protein here, although with the parmesan cheese, almonds, and cream cheese, it probably has a good amount of protein as a vegetarian dish without chicken. When I want an even quicker dinner, I pick up a rotisserie chicken and shred that instead of the quick sauté you’ll see in the recipe below.
- 1 pound rotini (spiral) pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders
- 1 recipe Spinach Basil Pesto
- 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and return to the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breast tenders with salt and pepper.
- Add to the hot skillet and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flip the tenders, cover the skillet, and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes more.
- When the chicken is finished cooking, remove to a cutting board and allow to cool for 1 minute before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the spinach basil pesto, whipped cream cheese, and reserved pasta water to the pasta in the pot and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Mix in the chicken and serve. Pesto pasta can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.