Pesto-Stuffed Chicken

We have had good luck with basil in our new little herb garden this year. Since I have never successfully grown basil outside in Oregon, and my mom has never successfully grown basil in the various spots she has tried in the back yard, this is little short of a miracle. My best guess is that its current placement with morning shade and afternoon sun has something to do with its vigor, although I did lose a ruffly purple basil early on, in between the huge Thai and Genovese varieties; so who knows, really?

In any case, now that the summer is winding down, it is time to start using our basil more than a few leaves at a time, so I snipped a few cups’-worth and made a batch of lemony almond pesto to get started. And since I had some organic chicken breasts and mozzarella cheese to use up as well, I decided to make some cheesy pesto-stuffed chicken, wrapped in prosciutto for an even prettier presentation. I served the chicken with Yukon gold potatoes and green beans that were first steamed and then sauteed in butter for a little color.

Pesto-Stuffed Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
1 C shredded mozzerella cheese
3 T pesto
1 egg white
4 slices prosciutto
salt & pepper to taste

Season the butterflied chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Prepare the stuffing by mixing together the egg white, pesto, and mozzerella cheese in a small bowl.

Next, spread out a chicken breast on your cutting board with the cut side up. Scoop about 1/4 cup of stuffing onto the center of the breast, and spread it out to cover the middle portion of the breast. Starting with the smaller end of the breast, roll the meat up into a cylinder, or just fold it in half like closing a book.

Carefully pick the stuffed breast up in your hands and wrap it with a slice of prosciutto. Make sure the prosciutto covers the “seam” in the folded chicken, to help contain the filling somewhat. Repeat this process with the other three chicken breasts and set them aside. You can prep these in advance and pull them out of the fridge about an hour before dinnertime if you like.

Roast the chicken breasts in a preheated 350F oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your breasts, or until the innermost part of the chicken, stuffing included, reads at 165F on your meat thermometer. I lost quite a bit of filling despite my careful wrapping, but that’s not a big deal; just spoon some over the chicken like a sauce!

Source: Slightly adapted from Mary Makes Dinner.

Thai basil heading into the dehydrator

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