Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Asparagus Ragout
Fancy flavours can be enjoyed at home too. This aromatic pesto chicken will impress any dinner guest.
Large handful fresh basil, minced (reserve some for garnish)
4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil (divided)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless chicken breasts, total 500 g
1 large red onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
16 asparagus stalks, cut into quarters
16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon zest
1/4 cup (60 mL) Parmesan, grated
The pesto in this recipe is simple to make with either a mortar and pestle or an electric hand mixer. If you want, you can double the amount of pesto and freeze the extra. Fresh local asparagus needs little cooking and is wonderful when it’s crisp. For this recipe, choose thin stalks; if you use thicker ones, you will need to blanch them for a couple of minutes to soften.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- To make pesto: Place basil, two cloves of minced garlic, 2 Tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl, and mix until it forms a paste.
- Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise split on the side of each chicken breast to form a deep pocket. Stuff chicken breasts evenly with pesto, rubbing a little on the outside as well.
- Place chicken on a lightly oiled baking pan in oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. (To grill chicken breast instead, preheat grill to medium-high. Rub chicken with some olive oil and place on grill. Cook for five to six minutes on each side.)
- While chicken is cooking, make ragout. To a sauté pan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus onion and remaining garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, asparagus and olives, and continue cooking five minutes.
- Add lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slice chicken breasts into 1/2-in. slices and divide evenly among four plates.
- Top with vegetable ragout.
- Garnish with Parmesan cheese and basil before serving.
Serves four. Per serving: 324 calories, 31 g protein, 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g fibre, 71 mg cholesterol, 349 mg sodium