This was a Dinner Divas recipe that was too good to pass up. It was Carrie's choice, and it really delivierd an outstanding meal. I stumbled upon it on Bettylou's blog, a fellow dinner diva. I loved it for dinner and lunch the next day, and I honestly can't wait to make it again!! I thought that it was a bit time consuming, but in the end, worth it.
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves ( I used 2 chicken breasts)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
20 ounces uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta) (I used the best garlic basil pasta from TJ's)
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided (I used fat free)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (3.5-ounce) jar commercial pesto (about 1/3 cup)
3/4 cup half-and-half (I again used fat free)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 2 pints)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I omitted)
1. Grill chicken however you prefer, I threw mine on the panini press, which I wouldn't recommend, it dried out a bit
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain,reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid (I forgot this, oops). Place pasta in large bowl and set aside.
4. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in pesto. Gradually add remaining 1 cup milk and half-and-half, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 8 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 cup cheese; stir until cheese melts.
5. Add chicken and sauce to pasta, tossing well to coat. Add tomatoes and basil; toss gently. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Serve immediately.