I try to attend at least one Lunch Express at Whole Foods every month with my friend Beth. If you haven’t done this before and you live near a Whole Foods that has a culinary center – you have to do this! Lunch Express is a one hour cooking class where the chef prepares a three course meal while you partake of the deliciousness of the meal! And it only costs $18! It’s so totally worth. In May Beth and I attended once again and learned from a chef who we had met in a previous class, Lance Daughtry. On the menu – Arugula salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Grilled Pesto Chicken with Vegetable Risotto, and Espresso Panna Cotta. All absolutely amazing! I especially enjoyed the dessert – so yummy!
So not only do I take the class once a month but I really try to make at least one of the things on the menu before the next class rolls around. I didn’t make the entire menu, which would have been wonderful, there is just not enough time! I did however, make the Grilled Pesto Chicken with the Vegetable Risotto and it was awesome…right until I was in the midst of enjoying me meal (which took me much longer to make than I anticipated) and I dropped my entire plate on the carpet – not one of my finest moments. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who shared the rest of his chicken with me (mine had hair and carpet fibers on it) and of course there was plenty of risotto left. Check out the recipes – I know you’ll love them!
Grilled Pesto Chicken with Vegetable Risotto
Whole Foods Lunch Express with Lance Daughtrey
For the Pesto:
1/3 lb fresh basil
1/4 lb fresh parsley
1/3 lb fresh spinach
3/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/4 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 lb pinenuts (or cashews)
Place basil, spinach, parsley, pinenuts and garlic into food processor. Blend until ingredients reaches a smooth consistency.
While food processor is running, slowly add olive oil and lemon juice until both have been incorporated.
Place mixture into bowl and whisk in Parmesan cheese.
To Prepare Chicken:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp pepper
2 lemons, cut into 6 slices
Place chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Coat chicken breast with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill chicken 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once.
Place on plate and cover with pesto.
Grill lemons about 1-2 minutes and use for plate garnish.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups aborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup English peas, blanched or frozen
1/2 cup carrots, blanched and diced small
1/4 lb asparagus, blanched and chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
4 Tbsp butter, cold
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
In a large skillet, heat teh olive oil over medium heat. Add teh onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a differet sauce pot heat up chicken stock over medium-high heat. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the wine to the toasted rice, and then add a 4 to 6 ounce ladle of chicken stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Add the peas, carrots, aspargus and red bell pepper and incorporate. Stir in the butter and cheese until everyting is well mixed. Portion risotto into serving dish and garnish with cheese.