2 garlic cloves
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 bunches fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
9 ounces dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved, for garnish
2 tablespoons torn basil leaves, for garnis
The pesto can be made 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Using a Bump and Grind or another large mortar and pestle, smash the garlic into a coarse puree. Add 1 1/2 bunches of basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped. Mix in the grated Parmesan cheese. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and smash to break them up.
Slowly mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Set it aside.
In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
Remove the pan from the heat. Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti over high heat until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking, about 8 minutes. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.
Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some of the pasta around the fork. Slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving.
Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a slight diagonal into 4 slices. Arrange the chicken slices alongside the spaghetti.
Garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of pine nuts, shaved Parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over and serve.