Here’s a really simple recipe with just two main components, chicken and pesto.
I’m always looking for ways to use the abundant basil growing in my yard. My favorite thing is to make homemade pesto. And I discovered it’s really delicious on baked chicken.
A generous coating of pesto seems to insulate the chicken and makes it come out extra juicy and flavorful. Even after baking, the pesto retains its fresh basil taste.
Spaghetti and pan roasted broccoli florets complete the meal.
Homemade pesto recipe
Ingredients for pesto
A few simple ingredients make an aromatic pesto:
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3 cups tightly packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese that you grate yourself
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put pine nuts in the blender
Add fresh basil
Consider growing your own basil. It can be kept in a pot indoors or planted in your garden. Either way, it’s very easy to grow. I love being able to go to my garden any time I want to pick fresh basil!
Pour in the olive oil
Invest in a good quality extra virgin olive oil. As you can see from the first picture above, I buy Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Costco. It’s very reasonably priced and has an intense olive taste. And unlike many olive oil brands out there, it’s been proven to be 100 percent pure extra virgin olive oil.
Next comes the garlic
Okay, I cheated here a little bit and used chopped garlic in a jar.
Grated parmesan cheese
I recommend buying chunks of parmesan cheese and grating it yourself. I grate mine, put it in plastic bags and store it in the freezer.
And finally, salt and pepper
I use either kosher salt or sea salt.
Blend everything together
This takes a minute or two. You may have to stop a couple of times and push the basil down.
The final product
Look at that gorgeous color!
Now grease a baking dish with olive oil
Place the chicken thighs in the pan
Put salt and pepper on both sides. I like using chicken thighs because they tend to stay moist even if you bake them for a long time.
Coat the chicken generously with pesto
You may not need to use all of the pesto. If you have any left over, it’s great on eggs, sandwiches and salads.
Place the chicken thighs into an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake for about 90 minutes. Chicken is done when the juices run clear.
The chicken is ready
Dinner is served
To finish the plate I added whole wheat spaghetti and pan roasted broccoli, with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I put some of the pan juices over the spaghetti and chicken.