Diane’s Girls’ Night Pasta

This summer our church is having a Bible study for women every Tuesday night. We’re going through a fantastic series by Beth Moore called ‘Breaking Free,’ and (with the extra perk of dinner involved) it’s a lovely way to spend the evening. If you’re a female Christian, chances are you may have encountered Beth Moore–she’s a very blond and very Southern preach-it type of gal who does video devotional series with an accompanying booklet. For us more reserved Chicagoans, her intense style can feel a little . . . abrasive. “Lemme tell you, girlfriend!” she shouts, her eyes the size of dinner plates, her hair sprayed into a veritable tower of blondness. “I don’t know ’bout you, but I need me some freedom!”

It took about 2 sessions for me to get used to her. And now–I’m loving it! She is sincere, she is gospel-preachin,’ and she doesn’t mince her words. She’s direct and honest and I am enjoying this study to the max, poofy hair included.

But anyway, we’re getting distracted from the food part of this post. The first night we met for this summer study, Diane (one of the leaders) made this great pasta dish. “How do you make this??” I cried. And as soon as dinner was over, she had printed the recipe for me. Thank you, Diane. It’s simple, it’s wonderful, it’s girly.

Word of caution: the chicken and the pesto are center-stage flavors here, so get a gooood chicken and get some gooood pesto. Diane explained that the Costco roasted chicken is the most succulent store-bought chicken she’s come across, and it makes a big difference in the final dish. And lo and behold, Diane’s pasta was waaay better than mine, so if you have access to a Costco by all means take her advice.


1 roasted chicken, picked
16 oz rotini pasta
2 oz pine nuts, toasted
1 cup diced sundried tomatoes (8.5 oz)
3/4-1 cup pesto (6.25 oz)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

There’s the assembly–minus the pine nuts. Pretend there’s a little jar of pine nuts.

Start off by boiling some pasta water (salted!).

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and pick that chicken. I have no pictures to present because I had picked it the night before. You can go the storebought route, or you could easily roast up a chicken of your own in a little over half an hour using this method.

I chopped up the chicken with a handy pair of kitchen scissors:

Now grab yon sundried tomatoes . . .

. . . and give them a good dice.

This didn’t take me long since I bought the julienned kind.

Now it’s time to lightly toast the pine nuts in a skillet. They burn easily, so move them about and give them your undivided attention.

*visualize a skillet of pine nuts gently toasting over a low flame*

Why didn’t I take a picture, you ask? Well . . . um . . . see . . . every now and then this side of me pops out that I like to call ‘The Cheapskate Jenna’ (or is it ‘cheapscape’? I never did figure that out).

See, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $6 on what seemed to be the world’s tiniest jar of pine nuts. But as long as the $6 doesn’t phase you all, they truly are delicious in this dish. Like, the dish really isn’t the same without them. Yep, this is one of those ‘don’t do what I do–do what I say’ situations. Unless you have a Cheapskate alter-ego that will also emerge and take the reigns of your being right before you get in line to check out, consuming you with guilt until you put that dang jar of pine nuts back on the shelf.

Grate the Parmesan nice and fine:

When the pasta is almost al dente, set aside 1 cup of pasta water (just dip a glass cup measure straight into the pot) . . .

. . . and drain the pasta. Immediately return the pasta to the pot and stir in the tomatoes and chicken . . .

. . . and the pesto and pine nuts.

Cook it all over low heat for a couple minutes, stirring until it’s evenly mixed and the pasta is al dente.

Stir in extra pasta water as needed–if it’s looking/tasting dry, add splashes of water until the consistency is to your taste. I forgot to reserve the pasta water and my end result was a little dry. Wow–no pine nuts, no pasta water . . . I was really slacking off when I made this.

Oh well! It’s all part of my Recovering Perfectionist Therapy Regime, so I hereby forgive myself.

Serve with plenty of Parmesan sprinkled on top!

It’s tasty and easy and an overall great weeknight meal.

Plus, even though ‘girls’ night’ is in the title of it, my husband said that it hit the spot in his man-stomach.

Thanks again Diane for sharing your great recipe!

Click here for printer-friendly version: Diane’s Girls’ Night Pasta

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12 Responses to Diane’s Girls’ Night Pasta

  1. YUM! This looks so good!

  2. Love Beth Moore. And I love this pasta……printing now! :)

  3. I did that study a couple of years ago. It was incredibly challenging and difficult and helpful all at the same time. It really helped me face some yucky stuff and let God heal me. So good!

  4. Erica says:

    Mmmm. Looks delish.

  5. Madeline says:

    Sooooo Goooood! Glad you did a post for this!

  6. Heidi says:

    Shoot! Why are pine nuts so darn expensive! I love those little buggers

  7. Veronica says:

    Hurray for your Bible study and for this pasta dish! I have some pesto and pine nuts that have been sitting around just waiting for this recipe!

  8. Joanne says:

    This sounds just perfect for girl’s night! Whether it’s girl’s movie night or girl’s bible study night or girl’s sit-at-home-alone-and-eat-pasta-night. Man, I love meals like these!

  9. sugarcrafter says:

    This sounds incredible! And, I’m glad to hear that it’s perfect without the pine nuts, since I’m allergic to them anyway. :-) Can’t wait to try it!!

  10. Holly says:

    PAsta dish recipes seem popular today! I’m trying at no carbs, and seem doing ok, but you’re pictures are making me crave a good old pasta dish now…

  11. Sarah says:

    oooh looks delish! and i love beth moore. i did the breaking free study in college…twas great (and challenging). :)

  12. Mads says:

    This is my go-to weeknight pasta recipe! I buy pine nuts at the farmer’s market, so it’s something like $5 for two baggies. Not Bad!

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