Sunday, March 7, 2010

Brie stuffed chicken with red pesto and cream sauce over penne

I'd been having a craving for pasta and decided to see what I could do to clean out the fridge a bit.
I started with some grape tomatoes. I cut up about 5 of them, 5 or so chunks of red bell pepper, a
slice of onion and 4 cloves of garlic. I put it all in the oven and roasted them. I then peeled the
tomatoes and peppers. I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand so I used some dry basil,
oregano and parsley. I put all of that in the food processor and drizzled in some olive oil to make a

I then thawed a large chicken breast, cut a pocket in the side and stuffed it with some brie that was
in the drawer. I then slide it into a plastic baggie and put half of the pesto in with it and then
put it in the fridge for the rest of the day.

I took the rest of the tomatoes (a handful or so), another 4 chunks of red bell pepper and julienned
them. I crumbled up a chunk of blue cheese and the rest of the brie that wouldn't fit in the chicken.
I also pulled out a chunk of parmesano reggiano and put it in the grater.

I started my salted water boiling and heated up the oven to 350. I grabbed the chicken out of the fridge to
get it warming a bit. I put some olive oil in a pan and got it smoking hot. I set the chicken in the
hot pan and let it sear on both sides and then I put the whole pan in the oven.

I poured some light cream into a pot and got it heating. Once it was almost boiling, I started putting
in the cheeses and stirring constantly. As each batch of cheese would melt, I'd add more.

I started the pasta cooking. I found some penne in the pantry and so I used that. Once the cream sauce was
perfect (I tasted it and added a bit of salt as I didn't want to do this until the cheese ratio was good
or else could end up too salty from the salts in the cheese), I checked the chicken breast with a thermometer.
It needed a few more minutes. I put some Italian bread slices in the oven with the chicken.

Once the chicken was done, I took it out of the pan and placed it on my cutting board. I put the pan
on the stove, added a bit more olive oil and put the diced tomatoes and sliced red bell peppers into
it. I also put in the rest of the pesto that I'd reserved from marinating the chicken. I took the
pasta from the water and added it to the pan. The pasta was just a little over al dente. I wanted it
a bit on the under done side since I'd continue cooking it in the pan. I wanted to give the pasta
and sauce a bit of a kick and try to tie in the marinade on the chicken with the rest of the dish.
This way, the pasta soaked up the flavors while finishing cooking in the pan. As it sauteed, I sliced
the chicken breast.

We plated the pasta into bowls and then covered it in the cream sauce and topped it with the chicken.

Bread was done and we shredded some paresano reggiano as the finisher and sat to eat. I was super surprised. t was incredible. I mean, usually, there's something that could be done better or differently but I
was really impressed with this dish. It was very, very good. I was quite proud. And the leftovers for
lunch the next day were just as good. I'll be making this one again.

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