Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomatoes
Tonight, I had my sister over for dinner. After pondering all day about what to make, I decided to go with something I know is a hit. Plus, I got to use my basil I have growing in the garden. Unfortunately, I had to buy the tomatoes as I only have about three on my plant that are ripe.
This is an awesome recipe; very savory and delicious. My favorite part of this is when you are cooking the chicken, a little of the pesto normally spills out into the pan, creating a fried pesto chip. It is better than the dish itself in my opinion.
This was an after thought, so I don’t have any of the steps photographed, and I do apologize for that. It’s my first one. I do have picture of the finished product.
The first thing you want to do is get your basil ready. Pick off the leaves from the stems and wash and dry them well. I either spin them or roll up in paper towels. The latter is easier since I am normally too lazy to pull out the spinner.
- 2 cups of lightly packed basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Put the basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt into a food processor. Pulse it until it is coarsely chopped. With the machine still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it becomes a nice, smooth consistency. Add cheese by hand and mix thoroughly. Set aside. This can even be made earlier in the day and refrigerated.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – halved
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes – halved
- 1/2 cup coarsely torn basil leaves
To prepare the chicken, you do need to be careful. To create the pocket for the pesto stuffing, take a small paring knife and hold it perpendicular to the breast. I start about 1 inch in from the end of the chicken and carefully begin to cut a pocket. I make the pocket a few inches long, and leave about an inch on each side. Don’t go to far into the breast and be very careful not to make a hole in the bottom of the breast. You’ll lose all of your pesto if you do. If you accidentally do, you can always stop and mend it with a piece of chicken from above.
When you are done that, take paper towels and dry the breasts really well. This will help in the browning process. Stuff the pocket with a good amount of the pesto. Just eye it up. You can tell what is a good amount.
Heat a heavy skillet with the olive oil. Season both sides of the breasts with the salt and pepper. Add chicken to the pan, when hot, and cook about 10 minutes, turning once, until cooked through. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Try not to eat all of those sumptuous pesto drippings in the pan. They are beneficial to the sauce.
To the pan, add the tomatoes and quickly cook, scraping up the pan bits. Cook about one minute or until they exude juice. Add the basil leaves and toss for a few seconds.
Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken breasts, serve and enjoy!