Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

OK, so it's really just a coincidence that the last recipe I had was chicken and pesto and here I go with another chicken pesto recipe.  It has been a few days so it's not like I eat this every day.  Even still, I wouldn't normally post these back to back like this but I had it last night and it was so yummy that I have to get it out there.  I thawed a chicken breast and placed it in a plastic sealy bag.  I pounded the hell out of it until it doubled in size and was thin enough to roll but not too thin that it was falling apart.  I then went outside and grabbed a small handful of basil and then a big handful of arugula.  Can you tell I'm swimming in basil and arugula?  Anyway, I didn't feel like getting out the food processor so after rinsing both the basil and the arugula, I grabbed a garlic clove from the fridge and placed it on the cutting board with my basil.  I wrapped the arugula in a paper towel so that it wouldn't go limp after washing it.  I diced the basil and then the garlic.  I added some salt and pepper and then topped the mixture with some pine nuts.  I chopped it all together until it was as small as I could get it.  I then heated some olive oil in a pan.  It hit me that I saw on TV the other day that roasting the pine nuts makes a much better pesto.  Since I'd forgotten this until I'd already combined it all, I figured what could be the harm in toasting it all?  I added a tiny squeeze (maybe a half inch) of anchovy paste to the heating oil and swirled it around until it was broken up.  If you don't have anchovy paste, get some.  But in the meantime, you can use a dash of Worcestershire sauce.  Add the pesto mixture to the hot oil and remove it from the heat.  Stir it around until it's all coated and let it sit to cool.

I got some salted water boiling and another pan with some olive oil heating.  I grabbed some cheese from the fridge.  I found some goat cheddar the other day.  It's pretty strange.  It tastes like goat cheese but is hard and sliceable like cheddar.  I immediately wanted to stuff some chicken with it.  It's awesome for all those things you've always wanted to use goat cheese for but found it too delicate to do so.  Once the pesto cooled, I spread it onto one side of the chicken breast and then topped with a few squares of the goat cheddar.  I then rolled the chicken and place toothpicks in to secure it.  By now, the olive oil is hot so I placed the chicken in the pan, seam side down to seal it closed.  While the chicken is searing, I added some pasta to the boiling water.  I used squid ink capellini but you can use whatever you have.  Turn the chicken as appropriate to get a nice golden brown on each side.  It'll take a little while to cook the inside since it's been rolled.  Allow it time to cook through and don't worry if a little cheese escapes (I have plans for that).

While the pots are cooking, grab another clove of garlic and a pat of butter.  Dice the garlic up as best as you can and then top it with some salt.  Smash and pull your knife along the garlic and salt folding the back portion to the front an then smash/slide again.  This will create a paste of sorts.

When the chicken is done and the pasta is al dente, remove the chicken from the pan and turn off the heat.  Add the pat of butter to the pan along with the smashed, creamy garlic paste.  Stir around getting all of the bits of chicken and cheese off of the bottom of the pan.  Add water from the pasta pot a spoon at a time until a thick, creamy sauce appears.  Add the pasta and swirl around getting each strand coated in the sauce.

Place the pasta on the plate, top with the chicken breast (the two of us split one breast - it was quite stunning seeing the inside of the chicken with the cheese and pesto so even if you eat a whole one, cut it so you can see the beautiful inside).  Put arugula on top of the chicken and then sprinkle with parmesan and serve with bread.

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