Farfalle with Applewood Smoked Chicken and Walnut Pesto

Farfalle with Applewood Smoked Chicken and Walnut Pesto

This recipe makes more pesto than you need, but it is delicious and good to have on hand.


For the Pesto:

  • 3/4 cup California walnuts, toasted
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed, with stems removed (2 ounces of clean stemmed leaves)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pasta Assembly:

  • 1/2 pound dried farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups diced applewood smoked chicken, or other smoked chicken, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 cups sliced asparagus, in 1-inch, diagonal pieces
  • 4 teaspoons (about 4 cloves) chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup arugula-walnut pesto
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 15-20 California walnut halves, toasted
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. To make the pesto, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine all of the ingredients and process for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the pesto is smooth.
  2. Transfer to a tightly sealed container, and refrigerate, until ready to use. You will yield about 1 1/4 cups. Have all ingredients at hand and 4 serving plates or bowls warmed when you begin preparing the pasta. Once you start, it goes quickly.
  3. Drop the farfalle into a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook according to package directions; the pasta should be slightly firm to the bite, not mushy.
  4. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the chicken, asparagus and garlic; cook stirring and tossing frequently until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pesto and creme fraiche.
  5. Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet. Stir and toss for a moment to combine and coat the pasta with the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 heated plates or bowls, then garnish with toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan.