In October of last year I registered with bbcgoodfood.com, which has meant that I receive the weekly newsletter from the BBC Good Food website!! Check it out, it’s amazing. I have picked up so many hints and tips and invariably if I have a culinary conundrum, I usually find the answer on this website.
My fixation with this source of knowledge goes back a long way. I used to treat myself on occasion to the monthly BBC Good Food magazine. One particular day in May 2009 I was in our local news-agents and saw the new issue of the magazine with an offer of free packets of seeds for basil and cherry tomatoes. Well you know how it is, when the word Free is emblazoned across something you immediately think you are getting a bargain. So I bought it with great intentions for growing my own basil and tomatoes. Ahem!!! I found the afore mentioned seeds in my gardening box that I keep under the stairs cupboard the other day!! ;O)
Anyhow, the reason for this story is not to demonstrate my gardening procrastination but to share with you the recipe that I came across in the magazine for Creamy Pesto Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes. You get the link here, the idea was to grow your own basil and tomatoes in order to make this dish. Well I took the quick (lazy) option and bought some fresh basil and tomatoes and made one of the tastiest chicken dishes, ever.
Although the recipe boasts a 15 minute prep time, I have found that it does take a little bit longer than this. The components can be prepared in advance, such as the pesto and breadcrumbs, leaving the assembling of the chicken to do just before it needs to go into the oven.
- 4 chicken fillets
- 3 tbsp homemade pesto (recipe listed below)
- 85g/3oz mascarpone
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 100g/4oz breadcrumbs (I always do more than the 100g because chickens fillets differ in size and I hate running out of breadcrumbs mid crumbing!)
- 175g/6oz cherry tomatoes on the vine
- handful of pine nuts
- handful basil leave
In a small food processor, whizz together the following:
- 50g/2 oz basil leaves
- 25g/1 oz toasted pine nuts
- 25g/1 oz finely grated Parmesan
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 3 tbsp olive oil
This pesto is bursting with flavour, it will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 -2 days or cover with a layer of olive oil and keep for 3 – 4 days. As the above recipe only requires 3 tablespoons, you will have some pesto left over which you can use for pasta or dunking some nice crusty bread into…..
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas 6
Mix together the pesto and mascarpone, then using a sharp knife, make a slit along the side of each fillet creating a pocket. Carefully spoon quarter of the mixture into each chicken fillet and smooth over the opening to seal.
Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush each chicken fillet with a little olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Coat with breadcrumbs by placing each chicken fillet on the plate and press all over with the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a lightly oiled shallow, oven proof dish.
There should be some gaps between the chicken fillets where you can place the tomatoes, keeping them on the vine in a couple of bunches. Drizzle the lot with a little more olive oil. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until the chicken starts to turn golden brown and is cooked through. Towards the end of cooking, scatter with pine nuts and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle with basil leaves and serve with new potatoes or crusty bread!!
So delicious, enjoy!! R ;O)