Yet another use for Pesto!
I made so much Pesto last fall that I froze it. I still have some in the zip bag and when I read this recipe, I knew I had a short cut for dinner! I am all about not spending a lot of time doing dinner on a weeknight. I would rather fuss around with food on the weekend when I have more time. It’s supposed to rain all weekend so I will have plenty of time in the house since I won’t be in the fledging garden.
This recipe is from the same place as the Primavera Chicken Brochettes. I really liked this recipe and it got a thumb’s up from hubby. Leftovers are on the menu for tomorrow for hubby at work. This recipe has a lot of ingredients but you can take some short cuts which I will talk about at the end. Here we go!
Chicken Ala Biagio
4 Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz fresh basil stems removed
2 medium cloves of garlic
3 oz pine nuts
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups Italian Blend cheese, shredded
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
¾ cup butter
Sun-Dried Tomato Caper-Sauce
1 TBS olive oil
3 medium shallots, finely minced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and minced
1 cup white wine
1/8 cup heavy cream
2 TBS capers, drained
¼ tsp thyme, fresh
4 TBS butter
1/8 cup parsley, minced
Fresh basil, garnish
Place chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with meat mallet to even thickness about ¼ inches. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
To make Pesto, place basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor with steel blade and process to a paste-like consistency. It may be prepared in advanced and refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place equal portion of Italian Cheese in center of each flattened breast and spoon 1 TBS prepared Pesto in center of cheese. Roll breasts, tucking in ends, to completely enclose filling. Secure with toothpicks. Unused Pesto may be frozen for later use.
Place flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Lightly coat filled chicken breast with flour, dusting off excess. Brush all sides with egg and then roll in breadcrumbs. Repeat with other breasts. Heat ¾ cup butter in heavy skillet until melted. Brown filled breasts on all sides. Transfer to lightly greased baking pan and bake 20-30 minutes until temperature on meat thermometer reaches 160F and juices run clean when pierced with knife.
To prepare sauce, place 1 TBS oil in saucepan. Sauté shallots, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes until tender. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Gradually add cream while stirring. Add caper and thyme and again reduce by half. Whisk in butter, 1 TBS at a time until consistency is creamy. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, remove toothpicks and place on a serving dish. Top each breast with sauce. Garnish with fresh basil of desired.
Note: I think you can save yourself some time if you buy the jarred Pesto and then freeze the rest in an ice cube tray for later creations. I also don't like using regular bread crumbs so I made a mixture of Panko bread crumbs with dried basil, oregano and thyme. I like the flakiness of the Panko much better than the other recommended crumbs. I cut some of the fat out of the recipe by using dried Sun-Dried tomatos and soaked them in boiling water about 15-20 minutes. They worked just fine in the sauce without being soaked in olive oil. There is way too much butter to saute the chicken breasts in. I ended up throwing about half of it away. You do need the in the last part of the recipe for the sauce, no skimping on that part.