Photo: Randy Mayor
6 cups (serving size: 1 cup)

This pesto incorporates ingredients Disbrowe finds on the ranch: cilantro and pecans. Cotija is an aged Mexican cheese available in many supermarkets and in any Latin grocery. Substitute Parmesan if you can't find cotija. If the sauce is too thick, loosen it with a little hot cooking water from the pasta.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place cilantro and next 6 ingredients (through chile) in a food processor; process until well blended. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Place pesto in a large bowl; stir in vinegar and black pepper.

Step 2

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken, pasta, and tomatoes to pesto; toss to combine.

Hart and Hind Fitness Ranch, Rio Frio, Texas

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Ratings & Reviews

CKBrown25's Review

July 13, 2013
One of the reviewers of this recipe said "my eyes rolled back into my head with the first bite" which made me want to definitely try it. I can't say the same happened for me but this is a GREAT summer pasta recipe. Enjoy.

Sammyk's Review

December 30, 2012
It's hard to get my hubby to express pleasure at a meal that is anything other than meat and potatoes but; I continue to try because that's so boring to cook. He loved this pasta and so did I. Easy to prepare and a unique taste for a pasta dish. Will definitely fix this again.

PegCooks4U's Review

November 19, 2012
This was one of the best pesto recipes that I have ever made. I used pine nuts and parmesan as another reviewer had mentioned.

hungria's Review

September 28, 2012

sukeedog's Review

June 09, 2012
Tasty! I agree that the recipe must be off - 3 oz of pasta obviously cannot make 6 cups cooked. Maybe they meant "about 3 cups uncooked" instead? And how can 6 cups of cooked pasta + 2 cups of cherry tomatoes + 3/4 lb chicken + all the other ingredients only make 6 1-cup servings? So confusing! But the pesto is yummy and unique, and we enjoyed this tossed with roasted red bell peppers in addition to the tomatoes.

ubfit2's Review

March 25, 2012
Terrific recipe! Made as directed, though correct dry pasta amount is actually 12 oz not 3. I think I actually prefer this version to traditional Italian pesto. Could omit chicken for a vegetarian option. We wil be making this again.

ykern23's Review

March 22, 2011
I used jalapenos instead of Serranos because I had some left over, but this was so delicious. The texture was great, the flavor was spicy, but very refreshing. Fast, easy meal to make and tasted great. I also imagine it would be a good summer lunch if chilled before serving. Will definitely make again.

nwilker's Review

January 07, 2011
Loved this!! Switched out the cheese for a Parmesan mix, used pine nuts vs walnuts, left the seeds in chili, used red wine vinegar, only used 1-1.5 tbl of hot olive oil, Came out great! Definitely was thick and the water from the pasta helped!

ideesj's Review

July 01, 2010
Wow, this recipe was delicious. The boyfriend actually thought, I had purchase a pre-made pesto. I followed the directions step by step but added the sherry vinegar when I blended the pesto sauce and added 3 chile serranos as oppose to 1 (pallate preference) Since I did not have a food processor, I did blend the ingredients for the pesto. I added about 1/4 cup of the hot water from the pasta and it didn't appear to make a difference. Great dish, fast, easy and really yummy!

guinness4029's Review

May 19, 2010
Both husband and I enjoyed this recipe but using 3 oz of pasta, there is NO way this is 6 1-Cup servings. We had enough for 3. In fact when running it through Sparkpeople as 4 servings, I got way less calories. Will have again, but will up the pasta.