So you whipped up some homemade pesto, now what? Well, you can pack it into a cute Weck jar, wrap it up with bakery twine and gift it. Or you can use it to make pesto-stuffed, prosciutto-wrapped chicken. Just this once I’m going to recommend being stingy.
If you opt to use your favorite jarred pesto — it’s ok, really, I do like Classico’s — just make sure to drain any excess layer of oil off the top. The stuffing needs to be a thicker, less runny consistency so it doesn’t leak out of the chicken and onto the baking sheet. (Not a horrid thing to happen, but it’s just messy.)
Three ingredients — chicken breast, pesto and prosciutto — and you’re done. For a side, this time of year I like to steam up some thickly cut zucchini, or when asparagus is back in season, toss a bunch of spears on the baking sheet to cook alongside the chicken for the last ten minutes or so. Definitely one of my favorite quick dinners¹.
Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Pesto
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: About 40 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
- 4 tablespoons jarred or homemade pesto
- 4 slices prosciutto
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a small, rimmed sheet pan (or baking dish) with aluminum foil — fold up the edges of the foil to make a small box with about 1/2″ tall sides (makes cleanup easier).
Prepare chicken by removing the small “tender” portion from each breast and reserving for another use — not all breasts will come with this still attached since they’re now commonly sold separately. Trim and discard any fat or hard bits.
Next we need to butterfly the breasts. Here’s how you do it (see photos below for some visuals): Apply even pressure to the top of the chicken breast with your hand and cut though the middle with your knife parallel to the cutting board — stop cutting about 1/2″ from the other side, it’s really important that you do not cut all the way through! Repeat with other breast.
Open up the chicken breasts, kind of like a book. Onto one side of the pocket, spread 2 tablespoons pesto leaving about a 1/2″ border around the egdge. Close up the chicken, then wrap with 2 slices of prosciutto. Place on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Repeat.
Loosely cover chicken with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cooked through (the chicken’s temperature needs to be 165°F). Remove from oven and allow to rest for about five minutes before serving.
¹ So much so that it was the centerpiece poultry item in place of turkey for what was later dubbed Young Person’s Thanksgiving ’08. A very memorable Thanksgiving indeed for a small crowd that included my sister (Chloe), her boyfriend (Jeff), David and myself in their Providence apartment.