August 17, 2011

Pesto Chicken

The basil in the garden has been looking so inviting that I thought I'd make some pesto! Tonight, we went outside to play in the yard and I brought a little bag and picked some cucumbers, basil and flat leaf parsley from the garden. This pesto is simple and delicious, and even better, you can make it once and then enjoy it over the next few days in different ways! Tonight we had it as a marinade on chicken cutlets, but it is also wonderful tossed with pasta or on fresh baguette as a snack.

La Dolce Duchessa's Pesto
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup whole walnuts, loosely packed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup pecorino romano, freshly grated with a microplane
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated with a microplane

You'll love how quick this is to make- grab your blender! Wash your parsley and basil, remove and discard the stems. Remove the skins from the garlic cloves, cut off the small root and chop coarsely. Add all of the ingredients to your blender and blend until combined. Use a spatula as needed to scrape down the sides. If there are any large pieces of garlic or nut that are resistant, just fish them out and chop them yourself, adding back to the pesto.

You're done! You're ready to either toss freshly boiled pasta in the delicious sauce, or use it as a marinade for chicken. Tonight, I used this pesto for chicken cutlets- chicken cutlets are breast halves that have been butterflied open. I used 1 Tbsp. to 1 1/2 Tbsp. of pesto for each chicken cutlet, covering the whole piece with pesto, and let it marinate for 1 hour before cooking. You can marinate it for longer if you like, or if you have less time, that's alright too! Whatever you can do- it will still be delicious. Store the unused pesto in the refrigerator and enjoy it tomorrow or later on in the week!

To cook the pesto chicken, heat some olive oil in a skillet on the stove over medium heat. Once the oil moves easily around the pan, add the chicken. I cooked it for about 4 or 5 minutes on the first side, waiting until the chicken was easily moved and flipped (don't hurry this, you want some nice browned parts on the chicken) and for about 3 or 4 minutes on the second side. Top this with some baby arugula and a little grated parmesan and you have a lovely presentation! This is a wonderful weeknight dinner, but you may like it so much that it may get upgraded to dinner party or weekend lunch!

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