Basil is one of the main herbs grown in Hawaii, with local farms producing almost 2 million pounds of the sweet Italian and Asian varieties each year.

Is there a more perfect partner for Island-grown tomatoes than these prolific, fragrant leaves? And for perfect pesto, add Island-farmed macadamia nuts and keep the blender low for increased texture.

Ciao Mein Restaurant
Macadamia Nut Pesto Chicken Pasta

Courtesy Chef tournant george lemsoni

Place nuts, basil, macadamia nut oil, cheese and pepper in a food processor and slowly add in the extra virgin olive oil. Process less for a chunkier pesto. When done, salt to taste.

Pesto
* 1/2 cup roasted macadamia nuts
* 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts
* 1 1/2 cups Island-grown basil
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
* 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
* 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
* Salt to taste

In a medium sauté pan, heat up the extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the chicken with the chopped garlic and shal-lots. Once cooked, throw in the red bell pepper, and sauté. Add 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and reduce slightly. To finish, add 1/2 cup of the pesto.

Pasta
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 6 oz. chicken breast, cubed (1.5 in x 1.5 in)
* 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
* 2 teaspoons julienned shallots
* 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
* 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
* 3 cups of your favorite short pasta, cooked

Ciao Mein Restaurant
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
923-1234