pesto chicken with spaghetti and broccoli

Baked chicken with homemade pesto

pesto chicken with spaghetti and broccoli

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

ingredients for homemade 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

pine nuts in blender for pesto

Add fresh basil

basil in blender for pesto

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

adding olive oil to basil for pesto

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

chopped garlic in blender for pesto

Okay, I cheated here a little bit and used chopped garlic in a jar.

Grated parmesan cheese

parmesan cheese in blender for pesto

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

parmesan cheese in blender for pesto

I use either kosher salt or sea salt.

Blend everything together

blending pesto

This takes a minute or two. You may have to stop a couple of times and push the basil down.

The final product

fresh homemade pesto in blender

Look at that gorgeous color!

Now grease a baking dish with olive oil

grease pan with olive oil

Place the chicken thighs in the pan

raw chicken in baking dish

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

chicken coated with pesto before baking

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

baked chicken pesto

Dinner is served

pesto chicken, spaghetti and broccoli

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.

Simple, tasty and healthy. What more could you ask for?

pesto chicken with spaghetti and broccoli

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