For the pesto: Add the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, chile and some salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth and well combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil; process to a thick pesto.
Transfer to a sterilized jar and cover with a layer of oil to seal. Store in the refrigerator until needed.
For the chicken penne: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pesto in large skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Add the chicken strips and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the Italian herbs. Fry until almost cooked through, 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the cooked penne to the skillet, as well as 4 heaping tablespoons of the pesto. Stir it all together, then transfer to a serving bowl.
Grate some lemon zest over the top and squeeze over the juice of 1/2 lemon. Finish with Parmesan shavings and basil leaves. Serve warm.
Recipe courtesy of Siba Mtongana