cilantro-serrano pesto with grilled chicken with penne

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This delightful recipe tastes like summer itself! Instead of basil-based pasta, this pesto uses cilantro and mint.  The pecan nuts give it a little bit of texture more than anything. The serrano pepper makes it a little bit spicy. We would recommend 1- 1 ½ pounds of chicken. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

1 ½ cups fresh cilantro

½ cup fresh mint

½ cup cotija cheese

3 tablespoons toasted pecan halves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 garlic cloves

1 serrano chile, seeded and sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast

6 cups hot cooked penne pasta (about 3 ounces uncooked)

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Place cilantro and next 6 ingredients (through chile) in a food processor, and process until well blended. With processor on, slowly pour olive oil through food chute; process until well blended. Place pesto in a large bowl; stir in sherry vinegar.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken, pasta, and tomato to pesto toss to combine.

(adapted from The Best of Cooking Light 7 magazine, 2006)

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