Chicken with pesto
This pesto is fresh, light and full of flavour. If you don't have time to make your own pesto, buy a good-quality, ready-made brand.
For the chicken with pesto
- 10g/⅓oz pine nuts
- 25g/1oz fresh basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan (or alternative vegetarian hard cheese)
- 1 tbsp freshly grated mature pecorino (or alternative vegetarian hard cheese)
- 75ml/2½fl oz light extra virgin olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- ½ unwaxed lemon
- 4–5 tbsp plain flour
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 2 minutes.
To make the pesto, put the basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts and a pinch of salt and the food processor or mortar, and grind to a paste. Tip into a medium bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix in the Parmesan and pecornio. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil very gradually, beating continuously with a spoon.
Rub the chicken breasts with the lemon and season with salt and pepper. Make a slit in the side of each breast and insert a tablespoon or so of the pesto mixture. Secure with a cocktail stick.
Put the flour on a plate, season with a little salt, then dredge the chicken into the flour. Shake off any excess.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and cook for 6–7 minutes, or until a golden crust has formed. Turn the chicken over and fry for another 3–4 minutes. Add a little hot water and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Keep an eye on it and add a little more water if it starts sticking to the pan.
Transfer the chicken to serving plates and spread a little more pesto over each breast. Serve with new potatoes and green beans.
Store any leftover pesto in a screw-top jar, with enough olive oil to cover the pesto. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.