Recipe by SarasotaCook
This is a quick and easy dish to make. Now, if you have time - marinating the chicken ahead of time in the pesto will make this even better. But if not, you can make this without the marinating process. You can also make your own pesto, however, a good quality store bought brand will work just fine for this. The chicken is simply dredged in pesto and then coated in breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese for a nice crust. Served with a simple spinach pasta, which is tossed with tomatoes, white wine and fresh basil. Add a quick side salad for a perfect weeknight dinner.
- 1 lb spinach pasta (you can really use any of your favorite pastas, but the spinach is best for this)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans Italian tomatoes
- 1 small onion, diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1⁄3 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 -6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (slightly pounded)
- 8 ounces pesto sauce (a good quality store bought pesto is fine, or home made if you want)
- 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Chicken -- I don't like the chicken breasts too thin for this. A scallopini cut is too thin, but lately a few that I have purchased are so thick I had to pound them out a bit.
- Marinate -- Now, if you have time, place the chicken and pesto in a large baggie and let it marinate, 30 minute and up to 4 hours. But not longer than 4 hours. If you do not have time, don't worry. It can be made right on the spot.
- Tomato sauce -- I like to start the sauce first. I use a good Italian flavored tomato sauce, but use your favorite sauce. I also like to add a bit more onion and garlic to mine, but remember, you can really add anything you want to make it "Yours.".
- In a small pot, add the olive oil and bring to medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and then add in the tomatoes and let simmer while you prepare the chicken. Before serving - after puree - if you add that step, add in the fresh basil.
- Note: Depending on what type of tomatoes you use, you may need to puree them. I use my immersion blender or you can use a regular blender. The end result you want a fairly smooth sauce. I like a little texture, but I use big Italian tomatoes, so I like to puree mine a bit. If you use a fine diced tomatoes, you may not need to do that. It is your choice.
- Chicken -- In a pie plate, or small dish, add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Now if you marinated the chicken in the pesto remove each chicken breast and lightly shake off any extra. Then dredge in the bread crumb and cheese mixture. If you didn't marinate your chicken, just add the pesto to a small bowl and dip each breast in the pesto, shake off any extra and dredge in the bread crumb and cheese mixture like above.
- Pasta -- Cook according to package directions.
- Pan Sear -- In a large skillet (I prefer a non-stick pan for this), heat up the olive oil of medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook on each side until golden brown. They only take approximately 5-10 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- Pasta -- Drain the pasta well and toss in the tomato sauce and don't forget to add the fresh basil.
- Serve -- Plate up the pasta and tomato sauce and then top with a chicken breast. You can garnish with extra parmesan if you want. Just add a salad and dinner. ENJOY!