When I cook my favorite meal, I feel double the satisfaction of just eating delicious food; I get to experience the transformation from the ingredients on the shelves of the grocery store to the beautiful meal on my plate sitting on the kitchen table. Cooking is therapeutic, and eating a home-cooked feast is pleasant and rewarding. My favorite meal to cook and eat is my very own cheesy pesto chicken pasta.
I begin by making the pesto. The green basil leaves feel fresh and delicate. I carefully pick the stems off and put them in the mixer. I mix in the olive oil and pine nuts, which contribute to the fresh, minty smell of the pesto. The pesto is the most important flavor in this pasta.
After making the pesto, I slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. When preparing it, the raw chicken feels slimy on my fingers, and the smell is slightly unpleasant, but I know that once it is cooked, it will be chewy and flavorful. When I add the pieces of chicken to the frying pan, it makes a sizzling and popping noise. It continues popping as it cooks, and when I flip it, I see that the cooked side has turned to a white-beige color.
For one of the last steps, I fill a pot halfway with water. I continue flipping the pieces of chicken while I wait for the water to boil. Once it does, I pour half the box of bow-tie shaped pasta into the boiling water and stir. I wait impatiently while I smell the delicious chicken and flavorful pesto on the counter next to the stove. As the pasta is al dente, I taste a piece to check the softness. The pasta is too hot to eat just yet, so I make sure to blow on it to cool it down before tasting its warm and slippery, almost buttery taste.
When the pasta is finally done, I combine the ingredients under low heat. The pesto immediately turns the pasta green; almost an olive shade, but slightly lighter. I add the chicken, and for the last step, the cheese. I can never get enough cheese. I scoop a spoonful of creamy ricotta cheese from the container and add it to the pasta, and then another, and another after that. I shred the mozzarella cheese and add it, and once I have added enough, I stir the ingredients and watch the cheese melt. Finally, I add the shredded parmesan cheese, and stir some more as I watch the melted cheese blend with the pesto and turn the pasta and the chicken into a pale green color. The pasta emits a slurp and then a bubbly sound as I stir it, which is almost as satisfying as the taste, and for a minute, I do not want to stop stirring. Once I do stop, I scoop some pasta onto my plate, making sure to include enough cheese and enough chicken for this plate. I will eat the leftover pasta for lunch the next day, or I will give some to my mom to enjoy with me.
For the most satisfying part, I finally indulge in a large plate of my pasta. I take a small bite, so that I don’t fill up too quickly, but then I start taking larger bites. The chicken’s drier texture contrasts perfectly with the thick melted cheese and the thinner pesto. The pasta has a savory taste, which I balance out with a glass of milk. The milk in comparison is thin and tastes sweet, and succeeds at quenching my thirst after eating several bites of pasta. The pesto helps the pasta from being too salty by adding a slight minty sweetness to the cheese and the chicken.
Once I am done, I will put the remaining pasta in a container to eat for my next meal. I wish I could have this pasta for every meal, but if I did, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much, and I would gain quite a bit of weight. Unfortunately, now that I am in college, I am stuck with dorm food, which isn’t nearly as good as my cheesy pesto chicken pasta.