Thursday, 20 August 2009

Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Pesto Chicken Kebabs

Flicking through a little cookbook I bought recently, and came across this recipe. In the mood for something colourful and reasonably healthy yesterday, this seemed to fit the bill. Today I tossed the left over roasted vegetables into some couscous with a splash of lemon juice for a quick 5 minute lunch.

Ingredients Serves 4

350g (12oz) butternut squash, halved, seeded, cubed
2 courgettes (zucchini), cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces
4 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
2 tbsp oil,
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces,
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp pesto
16 cherry tomatoes,
400g/14oz dried penne pasta


Instead of butternut squash I used kobocha, a Japanese orange pumpkin with dark green skin that can be found, cheaply, everywhere here.

Fresh thyme is great, but I used dried because it was much easier to find.

My supermarket only sells spaghetti or macaroni (oh, actually, it sells tri-colour fusilli too, but with so many strong colours in the vegetables I didn't want to add more) so I went for the largest macaroni I could find (gratin macaroni for anyone Japan based looking). It worked fine, but penne would have made the dish looked a little more balanced I think, as it's a little bigger and would have stood up to the larger chunks of veg easier. This is purely an atheistic problem though, the taste is fine, you can chop smaller to balance or I imagine penne is fairly easy for most other people to get.


(notice I actually managed to get a courgette instead of accidentally buying a cucumber this time: progress! I asked one of the shop ladies to be sure, I should have known it would be known by the American word. The assistant noticed that I was checking my recipe book and apologised that they only had one left, but as I reducing the recipe a little it didn't matter)

1) Preheat oven to 200C(fan)/180C (390/355F) or gas mark 6. Put all vegetables in a large roasting tin (I lined it with foil for easier removal), scatter with thyme and season. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of oil and roast for 40 mins, turning halfway through.

Because my pan was a bit full, when it came time to turn I took and spoon and mixed the veg a bit, ensuring everything got a bit of time at the top (careful not to break up the veg when you do this, the pumpkin especially will be getting softer).

2) Meanwhile, leave 8 wooden skewers to soak in water. Put the chicken into a shallow dish and mix with lemon juice and pesto.

3) Thread the chicken pieces and whole cherry tomatoes on to the skewers, then put them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the rest of the oil and roast them for 20 minutes.

Because I can only have one thing at a time in my microwave oven, I left the chicken sitting in the pesto/lemon mix for a few minutes until the vegetables had finished roasted, then swapped them out for the chicken skewers. The pasta will be hot so it doesn't matter if the veg cools a bit. If you decide you want it all together you could cook the skewers in a pan or on the grill.

4) Cook pasta according to instructions, drain, then toss with the vegetables. Serve with the kebabs on the side. Leftover veg can be a delicious part of lunch the next day (re: my couscous) but be aware that it does contain onion so be sure to reheat properly.

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