Deliciously tender, slightly lemony, Basil Pesto Chicken…. Yummy! Chicken breast marinated in a fresh basil, walnut, garlic, Parmesan cheese with a hint of lemon sauce. Reserve a little of the Basil Pesto sauce to drizzle a little extra yummy over the whole dish and top with some fresh ground black pepper, a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese and you are in for a real treat.
If you are a Pesto fan like I am then this simple, easy to make dish is one you are going to want to share and save. The best part is this dish is soooo easy to make, AND the chicken can be prepped in advance for a quick and easy week night meal, better yet make a batch of the Pesto sauce on Sunday and marinate the chicken overnight for a no fuss, easy dinner you can pull out any day of the week.
To make the Basil Pesto sauce I use a Magic Bullet NutriBullet because it is light, easy to use and is powerful enough to chop up the walnuts and garlic with ease. But you can use a traditional blender or food processor if you wish.
Don’t forget to reserve a little of the pasta water on the side… at least a cup.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.
- 1 cup of fresh basil washed and patted dry
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- About 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
- Can of vegetable cooking spray
- Use your favorite – I used 1 box of bowtie pasta (16 oz)
- Fresh grated Parmesean cheese
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Sliced grape tomatoes for a light pop of color and extra burst of fresh flavor (about ¾ cup)
- Using a blender or Magic Bullet NutriBullet or food processor combine all the ingredients for the Basil Pesto sauce (1 cup of fresh basil washed and patted dry, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, ⅓ cup chopped walnuts and 2 cloves finely minced garlic); add all ingredients to the blender or food processor and give them a couple pulses till smooth.
- Place chicken breasts in a one gallon plastic bag and add all the Basil Pesto sauce to the bag except for a ½ cup which we will reserve for the pasta and drizzle. Once in the plastic bag move the chicken around so that it gets fully coated with the sauce; seal the plastic bag removing any excess air and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or better yet overnight.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and remove the chicken from the plastic bag to a cooking spray sprayed sheet pan (discard plastic bag with used marinade); place the chicken in the oven on the middle rack and cook for about 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and set aside to rest.
- Following the directions on the box cook 16 ounces of your favorite pasta (I use bowtie pasta for this recipe). Drain pasta reserving at least a ½ cup of the pasta water to the side.
- In a large bowl combine pasta with ½ cup lemon Basil Pesto sauce (reserve a tablespoon or two for drizzle if you wish), about a ½ cup of the reserved pasta water; add Parmesan cheese to taste and sliced grape tomatoes (optional); combine all ingredients.
- Slice chicken breasts and lay on top of pasta; drizzle any remaining Basil Pesto sauce over the chicken and top with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!