This is a pasta recipe for one. One with leftovers. While I don’t usually cook for just myself, I was on my own the other night and wanted something comforting.


When I’m sad, I want carbs. Simple as that.

Like big bowls of pasta.

Don’t under estimate the power of carbs. And a hug. These two things are sure to turn my frown upside down.

I came across some pictures of my mother-in-law the other day and I got a pain in my heart. She passed away on Christmas day almost two years ago just days before my youngest son was born.

Dorothy had Multiple Scelrosis. She suffered for as long as I’d known her and many years before that. Before getting sick she was an avid skier and tennis player. Rumor has it she was a bit of a dancing machine as well. Unfortunately she had to stop doing so many of the things she loved due to the dibiitating disease. While most people might choose to bury under the covers and live in a state of depression, Dorothy was quite the opposite. She choose to make the best of her situation and still found joy in just about everything she did.


Whenever she would come visit, which wasn’t often, I would cook for her. And when I say cook, I mean cook. We would eat three (or more) square meals a day. Although she wasn’t much of a cook herself, she loved to eat. And when I say she loved to eat, she didn’t eat a lot. But man she appreciated each bite. She’d close her eyes with a napkin tucked into her shirt no less and let out a little sigh of pleasure when she’d taste something she really loved. And I love nothing more than to cook for someone who really loves to eat. We were a match made in little piggy heaven. She’d often refer to herself as a little piggy after we’d polish off a great meal. And not in self deprecating way but with a smile and sense of satisfaction.

She used to call the house pretty frequently. And often in the morning. Early in the morning. It would drive my husband mad. It made me smile. So when she knew Pete was out of town she’d make a point to call everyday. Its like she just knew that I needed to hear a familiar and loving voice. Sometimes we’d talk about the kids or my husband but a lot of the time we talked about what books we were reading and what great food we’d had recently. Somehow it always came back to the food.

So in my ode to my mother-in-law and make myself feel a teensy bit better, I made pasta.


Nothing fancy, just sort of threw together what I had on hand. I had some leftover basil pesto, a half pint of cherry tomatoes, and a few chicken breasts. In the time the fettucini boiled, dinner was ready. It came together perfectly creating a light summer pasta bursting with flavor.


I sat out on my deck watching the sunset and filled my belly with carbs and memories of a woman who loved to eat.

Tagged with →  
Connect with Mountain Mama Cooks on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter!

23 Responses to Fettucini with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil Pesto

  1. Maria says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. Very touching. Pasta is always comforting and this dish looks fantastic. Love that last photo!

  2. I make pesto pasta all the time, but never thought to add chicken. Great idea!

  3. Bev Weidner says:

    Oh I could eat pasta day or night, sad or happy, stressed or relaxed, asleep or awake.

    Okay maybe not asleep. BUT I SHOULD TRY.

  4. jen p. says:

    What a beautiful and touching post! And inspiration for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a very sweet tribute to someone you obviously loved very much. Pasta can make it better…and I love yours. I’ve done many of those leftover type pastas and they’ve been some of the best ever.

  6. Kalyn says:

    What a nice post. She sounds like a wonderful woman. (And the pasta looks great too!)

  7. Sandy @ RE says:

    Oh, girl, you’re making me cry. The last picture says it all, too. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post today. It makes me miss my sweet Mama, although it’s been 12 years since she’s cooked for me. I learned so much from her. I did find the last letter she wrote to me the other day … I need to do something special with it.

    I also love carbs when I need comfort! 🙂

    Love you!

  8. SMITH BITES says:

    these are the stories near and dear to my heart – it’s why i cook – to feed the people around me that i love. it makes me happy that you have these memories Kelley – it’s what i refer to as ‘joy and sorrow can co-exist’; sorrow for the loved ones now gone, but joyful and grateful for the memories & experiences we shared . . . lovely, lovely post and it makes me love you bunches more than i already did (((hugs)))

    • Kelley says:

      Thanks Deborah for the kind words. It’s why I cook as well. Food has a way of mending broken hearts, remembering a loved one and creating new memories with friends! Hugs back at you! xx

  9. I’m so touched. Your words, your story and the love you shared made me want to jump on a plane and come give you a great big hug. and then eat comforting food with you. Thank you for sharing, and in the meantime, I’m sending you virtual hugs ~ xx

  10. Kirstin says:

    What a touching story and yummy sounding recipe! I will have to try this. My mom passed away 7years ago and I often think of her while cooking because she loved to cook and enjoy food (C:

  11. This is such a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law, Kelley. It sounds as though she was an amazing woman and that the two of you effected each other’s lives deeply. I’m sure she would have loved a bowl of this comforting pasta.

  12. Heidi / FoodieCrush says:

    What a sweet tribute. I have a good friend who also has MS and like your mother-in-law, it motivates her to live life a little fuller than the rest of us. Your tender post inspires me to do the same. And to eat. Carbs. Yum. XO

  13. Deborah says:

    That was one of the most touching posts I’ve read. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Sarah says:

    such a touching, loving post

  15. jennifer says:

    What a beautiful story of such a rare special relationship! So many complain about their Mother’s-in-law. Mine too was taken way too soon (cancer). It was too early in our relationship but we were certainly headed there. Also as a mother of only one son, I hope to have that with a daughter-in-law someday. Oh, and the recipe sounds easy and delish, looking forward to it tonight. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. Lawrence Marzari says:

    Yummy for my tummy. If you take away the cherry tomatoes, it is good for a renal diet.

  17. CJ Maclin says:

    Love, love, love ur tribute to ur Mom-n-law.
    This is the 2nd time I’ve used one of ur recipes. I consider myself a Gr8 cook (and so for others.) So kudos to u for impressing me, more than once.
    Thanks for sharing!
    May GOD Bless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *