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Spicy Calabrian Pesto "Zucchini" Pasta w/ Chicken & Kalamata Olives (chicken optional)

A gluten free and HEALTHY pasta recipe using spiralized zucchini noodles.  If you don't have a spiralizer don't worry, this recipe works just as well with regular or gluten-free pasta.  Just omit the zucchini (or sauté zucchini slices with the mushrooms) and toss with your favourite pasta!  The fresh basil and parmesan at the end are a must!  For those of you who are vegetarians, the chicken is optional, it won't disappoint!

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Spicy Calabrian Pesto "Zucchini" Pasta w/ Chicken & Kalamata Olives

Serves 4

 Ingredients 

 1/4  NOOC Spicy Calabrian Pesto Olive Oil

2 tbsp NOOC 18yr Aged Traditional Balsamic

NOOC EVOO, for sautéing

3 large zucchini spiralized on the finest setting

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 c mushrooms, sliced

1/2 c white wine or sherry

1 c cherry tomatoes, halved (use more if you want!)

1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 c water

2 chicken breasts, diced 

1/4 fresh parmesan, finely grated

1/4 fresh basil, minced

Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

In a small bowl, TOSS diced chicken with 1 tbsp of the Spicy Calabrian Pesto Olive Oil, the Traditional Balsamic, salt & pepper to fully coat.  HEAT a frying pan over med-high heat, add chicken mixture and sauté 1-2 mins until chicken is just sealed.  REDUCE heat to LOW, cover and simmer for 5-7 mins.  Keep covered, remove from heat and set aside until the final step (a well-sealed lid is KEY to keeping the chicken moist) .

HEAT 1 tbsp NOOC EVOO in a large pan (you'll need it to have a tight fitting lid for this too) over medium heat, gently sauté shallots for 5-7 mins (don't brown - turn down heat a little if necessary).  Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 mins until fragrant.  INCREASE heat to med/high, add mushrooms and sauté 7-10 mins until nicely browned.  At this point, add the wine or sherry and simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.  ADD the olives and tomatoes and toss well.  ADD zucchini noodles and water, cover and simmer for 5-7 mins (this will steam cook the zucchini).  REMOVE lid and simmer for 2 mins to reduce liquid a bit, then add the rest of the Spicy Calabrian Pesto Olive Oil.  ADD chicken (if using), toss and serve topped with fresh basil, parmesan and salt & pepper to taste!

***if not using zucchini noodles, add the cooked pasta right after the tomatoes & olives, toss with the remaining Spicy Calabrian Olive Pesto Olive Oil and top with basil & parmesan.