Homemade Basil Pesto Chicken
It’s summer time! Which means it is time for basil pesto, in mass. I have one basil plant sitting on my deck and it has produced enough basil for me to make this pesto twice. Hoping for at least one more before summer’s end! This pesto freezes nicely, which means your own pesto any time of year. There is one key substitution in my recipe which diverges from the “traditional”, but it makes this that much more accessible. I also find the taste is hardly any different.
About the ingredients…
This is a unique recipe as it’s less about how to make it and more about the ingredients. And there is flexibility in which ingredients you’d like to use (or stick to the recipe 😉 ). I have supplemented the basil with some baby spinach. But you don’t want to make it more than 1/3 of the total or you’ll overwhelm the basil. I’ve also seen recipes utilizing carrot greens, can’t speak to that yet, but I could see how that would work! If you’re like me and have some garlic scapes (yes it’s a thing) from your garden/CSA/farmer’s market, you can substitute that for the garlic, though I recommend still using at least one clove. Also, please, please, please use Extra Virgin Olive Oil (do some research here!) as I feel the flavor it gives is a must.
How it’s done…
The basil pesto is as simple as combining ingredients in a food processor, scrape down the sides once or twice, and you’re done. As for the chicken, spread that basil pesto on all sides, slice some tomato, and bake for about 30 minutes (until juices run clear). After that, sprinkle on some Parmesan and broil in the oven for another 5 minutes – you’re welcome. PS the broiler is my new secret weapon for finishing a dish. Give it a try with any of your favorites, but never go more than 5 minutes!
Simple dish for any weeknight!
- 3 cups Basil Leaves, can supplement with spinach, but recommend no more than 1/3
- 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds
- 3 Garlic Cloves, large
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil, extra virgin
- 1/2 tsp Pepper, fresh ground
- 1.5 lbs Chicken Breast
- 1/3 cup Basil Pesto
- 1 Tomato, Sliced
- 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend for 2 minutes. Scrap down sides and blend again. Repeat until mixture is smooth.
Preheat oven to 350. While oven is getting to temp, cover chicken breast with basil pesto and then top with sliced tomato. Place in middle of oven to bake for 30 minutes (until juices run clear).
After chicken is cooked through, top with Parmesan cheese and put under broiler for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Basil pesto is easily frozen and thawed for use later. Place in freezer safe container 3/4 full, or fill an ice cube tray to freeze and then transfer to freezer bag.