The Problem: Big Bear doesn’t love pesto (i.e. basil) and I really, really, CAPITAL LETTERS do love it! I wanted to make a pesto stuffed chicken breast, but wasn’t sure how to make this appeal to both of us….
The Compormise: I put the basil, with fresh mozzarella, fresh spinach (only a little), garlic, and olive oil in the food processor… The cheese and spinach masked the basil enough for his liking, and didn’t hide it too much for mine! Weeeeee!
– 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
– 2 chicken breasts (I used the kind that are frozen, but already marinated in Italian rub)
– olive oil
– jumbo shells
– 2/3 cup spinach
– 2-3 cloves of garlic (I’m guessing here. Use as much as you want)
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 cup (ish) parmesan cheese
– salt and pepper to taste
– your favorite spaghetti sauce.
– Preheat the oven to 450. While that’s getting all piping hot, I seasoned the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
– I mixed in a bowl, the parm and the breadcrumbs. The eggs get scrambled in a seperate bowl. Then I threw some fresh mozz in the food processor with about 3 cloves of garlic, 2/3 cup of spinach leaves, and about 15 big basil leaves. (That’s about how many come when you buy it fresh fromt eh grocery store.)
– Then I pounded out the chicken to get it to a nice, big, flat shape. It’s easier to roll them up this way. (Side Note: I don’t have a mallet, so I put the chicken in plastic bags and used the bottom of a wine bottle. I don’t recommend this. It’s really difficult and super annoying. I’ve since registered for a mallet.) THen take a heaping spoonfull of the green mixture you’ve just made and put inside the chicken and roll.
– The chicken gets dredged in the egg mixture, before being covered in the breadcrumbs and cheese mixture. Then plop it onto a sprayed backing sheet seam side down. Repeat with the other chicken breast. Lightly spray the chicken with spray before placing in the oven. LIGHTLY. If you spray too hard the breadcrumbs will fly off in yo’ face. Allow to bake for 25 minutes…
– While the chicken is baking, cook up some jumbo pasta shells to al dente per the instructions on the box. Simultanseously, you can go ahead and heat up the spaghetti sauce over the stove. (I like to do it on the stove so I can add any additional spices or veggies I want.)
– When the pasta is cooked, drain it and stuff with the remaining mixture from the chicken. Place in casserole dish, cover with sauce, and bake for 10-15 minutes.
– Pull out the chicken breasts and top with remaining spaghetti sauce and a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven for about five minutes. (Don’t want the chicken to over cook, just want the cheese to brown and bubble.)
– Once your chicken and pastas are done, pull them out. Top the pasta with some shredded parm. and Serve. You WILL get compliments. I swear.