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a joyous day

Recipe: darling pasta

I’ve been busy this weekend with visitors. My aunt (one of my dearest friends) and her family are staying with us. They’re in the Denver area for some business and I am delighted to have our first guests in many many months. It is the first time I have seen her since my diagnosis and we had a tearful, heartfelt reunion on the sidewalk outside of Sushi Tora in Boulder. Yes, we had sushi. She is as much a sushi whore as I am (we are related, mind you).

So I wasn’t able to get online until late last night when to my delight, I learned that beloved Chuck of Sunday Nite Dinner has revved up Food Gawker, a budding replacement for Tastespotting. Good on ya, Chuck, and thank you thank you thank you for stepping up to the plate. A lesser cook could not have done this so quickly, so elegantly. You are superfly, babe.

Now, I have to be quick with this recipe because I need to make brekkie shortly and I am still managing random and annoying side effects (yes, they linger long after chemo – stupid chemo…).

I chose my partner well, this is obvious. Jeremy is never a cause for strife or stress in my life – he always makes everything better. But you can’t be guaranteed the same for your partner’s family. Luckily, my in-laws are incredibly sweet and loving people who treat me as if I were their own daughter. And they love to cook! Every time I see them, MIL and I always wind up exchanging recipes and sharing new dishes. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years and some of my favorite recipes come from the early days.


pasta, chicken, sun-dried toms, pesto, parm, roasted peppers, garlic, pine nuts



A lovely pasta dish that my ILs served us years ago had such fresh and delightful flavors that I had to have the recipe. It is incredibly simple to throw together, incredibly satisfying to eat. They didn’t have a name for it, really – so I dubbed it Darling Pasta. Did I mention everything about Jeremy’s family is just Darling? It’s true – and it’s their surname!

sauté chicken with garlic and oil



While this isn’t a cold pasta to cool off with (sorry, my East Coast friends who are sitting in the heat), it is perfect for any season and I make it year-round. I’ve used rotini of various flavors/colors and cheese tortellini for this dish, but it is flexible – very flexible. Often, we will make the pasta without the chicken for lighter, vegetarian option.

add sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers



Many of the ingredients are easy to come by at the supermarket today (this wasn’t always so a decade ago in Ithaca, New York). Of course, the purists can roast their own peppers, dry their own tomatoes, make their own pasta, and make their own pesto. It’s whatever you want to make of it. Considering this is on my list of quick meals, you can hazard a guess as to how I prepare it.

smell the love – add the pesto



Darling Pasta is terrific with a salad and bread, or served as a side pasta at a potluck, or as a one-bowl meal as we hunker down to watch a streaming episode of BSG (Battlestar Galactica, for those unfortunate souls not in the know).

colorful, flavorful, beautiful



Darling Pasta
[print recipe]

1/2 lb. chicken breast, diced
1 lb. rotini or cheese tortellini, cooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and cut into strips
1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1 cup pesto
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tbsps vegetable oil
parmesan, grated

Heat oil over high heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic when oil is hot and stir until fragrant. Add the chicken and sauté until just cooked. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers. Mix in the pesto and pine nuts. Toss the drained pasta into the pan and stir together. Remove from heat and serve with grated parmesan.

31 nibbles at “a joyous day”

  1. Mrs Ergül says:

    That’s gotta be the sweetest surname ever! And not bad for you too cuz you get to be Mrs Darling! This looks good and simple enough for me to try! Thanks for a brilliant recipe again Jen. And do take care. I hope the annoying side effects linger no longer. Take good care of Mr and Mrs J. Darling ;-)

  2. Pam says:

    I love a simple pasta dish and this looks great. Thanks for the Food Gawker info. Hope your feeling better soon.

  3. chriesi says:

    This looks delicious!

  4. Rosa says:

    A great pasta dish! De-li-cious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. manggy says:

    Ah, I knew many people would catch on that the food blog aggregator is a golden idea. I just hope that whatever problems that plagued Tastespotting will not be with the new ones (Foodgawker and Recipemuncher).

    You know, as a kid I asked my mom if all mothers-in-law hated their sons-in-law. She was surprised I was asking this (I think she might have been afraid I was referring to my dad and my grandmother), but I actually was just curious if what I read on Hagar the Horrible was true. I kid you not. Children!

    Wouldn’t you know it, I have all the ingredients for this around? (Except for the chicken breast– ah, but we’ll make the vegetarians happy for today…) Just reading the ingredient list I’m getting kind of hungry!

  6. Becky says:

    I had the same reaction when I found out foodgawker was up! This pasta recipe looks wonderful by the way!

  7. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    I agree with you on Foodgawker – so quickly done and so elegant :) That pasta looks delish, with those kinds of ingredients how could it not be. I love anyone who adds more pine nuts and parmesan to something already containing pesto.

  8. Melinda B says:

    Hi Jen. I love, love, love your blog. I can’t just jump on a blog and go from where I find it, so when I found yours I went back to the beginning and read it like a book. Throughout I have felt simultaneously inspired and inadequate (you are quite the underachiever ;-) ). Anyway thankyou so much fo being so generous with your time and recipes. Now I just wish I could tear myself away from the computer to actually make some of them. This will be hard because you are also very generous to your fellow bloggers and I am now exploring other sites that you have mentioned. Help I need an intervention. Be well, take care, and thanks again.

  9. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    What a gorgeous, fresh-looking pasta dish! It looks perfect for any time of year. This is exactly the sort of meal I like to whip up in the middle of a hectic week.

    No wonder your Jeremy is such a gem. How could he be anything else with such a sweet name! My husband’s last name should have been “Paininthebutt”! ;)

  10. knitopia says:

    This is dinner tonight (minus the red pepper because it is $6/lb). Thanks!

  11. Shoshanna says:

    The pasta looks delish! :o) Maybe I can send over my other half to you for Battlestar…he’s a HUGE fan…oye…haha

  12. peabody says:

    I lucked out in the In-law department as well.
    Looks like a great dinner. Slightly afraid of the BG reference though. :P

  13. littlem says:

    This looks yummy – I love how the cheese spiderwebs over the pasta.

  14. grace says:

    what you have here is an absolutely fabulous combination of ingredients. and yes, you can just call me captain obvious… :)
    (meanwhile, bsg rules, and it’s as simple as that.)

  15. Tarah says:

    I’m really thankful for Chunk to be doing this. It’ll really help me :D

    And, I have to say, that your dish looks so refreshing and delicious!!

  16. Sindy says:

    This looks yummy. I totally think that this would also be good served cold. I am notorious for making a dish that is eaten warm the first time and the left overs cold the next day for my lunch.
    My beginning with my MIL was tenative (I did take her baby) but over the years we became close and My SIL is my best friend. Years later when we divorced I often joked that “I got my in-laws in the divorce.” That proved to be a huge blessing when he died in that there has never been an issue with my childrens relationship and spending time with his family.

  17. Ann says:

    Lovely looking pasta – has all the right players. Looks so bright, lively, and fresh. And, yes – bravo on food gawker.

  18. cindy says:

    Anything with pesto in it works for me! This time of year I keep making big batches, thinking it will last, and then I eat it ALL. What a pig!

    I’m trying your poured fondant tonight (explanation to follow on my blog). Wish me luck. I have had bad luck with fondant, but I’m going to pretend none of the previous mishaps ever happened and that this is the first time I am trying this.

  19. Ginny says:

    Delicious!!! Pesto and sun dried tomatoes? I’m hooked!

  20. Kevin says:

    This pasta sounds great with pesto, sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers!!

  21. Chuck says:

    Thanks Jen. You made me *blush*. The response to Food Gawker has been super positive so far. I’m glad to be able to fill the void of TasteSpotting.

    Anyway, I’m so happy for you that you get along with the in-laws. In-laws that treat you like a daughter and who love to cook… can’t ask for much more!

  22. Candace says:

    Looks fabulous! I love pasta dishes like this… its a staple in my house!

  23. Patricia Scarpin says:

    That is my kind of pasta, Jen! I love all the flavors you mixed here. And pesto is always a winner on my book!

  24. Katherine says:

    I can’t turn away from a good pasta receipe. I have a question about the ingredients, did you also use pine nuts in the pesto? Just wondering with the additional pine nuts how it affects the taste. Thanks!

  25. jenyu says:

    Mrs E – it’s cute, eh? I didn’t take his last name though. If I had, I would have hyphenated and become Jennifer Yu-Darling. ha ha ha!

    Pam – thank you, and don’t thank me for food gawker – go thank Chuck!

    Chriesi – thanks!

    Rosa – thank you, dear :)

    Mark – I always heard horror stories about in-laws as a kid, just in the popular culture alone. Glad that my life doesn’t resemble popular culture… in any way ;) I rather like the dish without the chicken, to be honest. The pesto really makes it!

    Becky – yay for FoodGawker and the recipe is super easy!

    Laura – yup, you can never have too many pine nuts ;)

    Melinda B – my goodness, you must have been bored out of your mind to read through all of those rambling posts :) thanks, you are very sweet.

    Susan – omg, you made me laugh so hard! Be kind to Mr. SGCC, he sounds like a very nice fellow – especially to have landed such an awesome babe like you! xxoo

    Knitopia – the beauty of the recipe is that it is TOTALLY flexible :)

    Shoshanna – yay! BSG is a great show :)

    Peabody – come on now, I know you have an inner geek too, woman!

    Littlem – thanks!

    Grace – w00t! Another BSG fan!

    Tarah – isn’t Chuck a gem? I love that guy and I love Foodgawker!!

    Sindy – yes, it’s good cold (I admit it, I eat it cold for brekkie the next morning!) Oh, I’m so sorry to hear of your ex passing away. But very glad that you gained a family. If we don’t have treasured relationships in this life, what are we? xxoo

    Ann – thank you :)

    Cindy – I am a pesto slut. Love that stuff. I used to complain about the abundance of basil on a single plant until I began to make pesto – then I realized why the plants make so many leaves… for pesto! ;) Good going on the fondant! I saw your blog and was totally impressed with your results.

    Ginny – it is a great combination of flavors.

    Kevin – it’ll do you right, my friend :)

    Chuck – awww, no need to be modest. Love FoodGawker and you did a terrific job. I think it’s the best one out there. You rock!

    Candace – thanks!

    Patricia – *love* pesto :)

    Katherine – yes, there are pine nuts in the pesto (I didn’t make it though, I bought it *sheepish grin*). The addition of pine nuts is fan-freaking-tastic! It adds to the texture and it’s wonderful. You can never have too many pine nuts :)

  26. Christine says:

    Jen – I love dishes that remind you of good friends and family. This dish has everything going for it, as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to our favorite Italian place tonight and I will be ordering something like this because I just have to!

  27. White On Rice Couple says:

    Jen, you gotta add one more word to describe the pasta…..delicious! I can taste everything along every step and I lurve sun dried tomatoes!

    How fun to have guests again, especially family who are like friends. Hope your Auntie is having a blast!

  28. jenyu says:

    Christine – yum! :)

    WoRC – yeah, I’m a tomato slut too! It’s pretty easy to put together and the flavors are so fresh and spunky :) My aunt had a good time. She’s really special to me – thanks :)

  29. My Pure Diet. Health News & Supplements. says:

    […] the ones in oil, I made the Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad from Pioneer Woman and a Pesto Pasta from Use Real Butter. Both were delicious as they contained my newest favourite condiment and well, Parmesan […]

  30. Rachel Pennington says:

    I made this for my family and they LOVED it. So simple with the ingredients needed. I did add fresh garden tomatoes alongside of the sun-dried. I also used a little extra pesto.

  31. Brooke says:

    I was going through a few of the dishes on your blog when I caught the line “Many of the ingredients are easy to come by at the supermarket today (this wasn’t always so a decade ago in Ithaca, New York)”… WHOA! And then I caught your About page – I attend Cornell right now and I’m looking for a bunch of dishes to cook in my new apartment in collegetown! Totally cool. :) This one is on my list to cook next!

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