Take a moment, read my story, give a little to go a long way in the life of a child.
As mentioned in my post from Monday evening, this will be the start of every post through Tuesday, November 16!
I'm really excited to post this recipe, this one is a Katie-original! I started making the initial variation of this 2 years ago and it has evolved from a chicken breast covered in 1 sliced tomato, 1 slice of mozzarella and Italian seasoning, to what I've made it today. The new version of my coined chicken recipe now includes stuffing the chicken with the pesto and the cheese. Then, we dice up tomatoes, allowing them to marinate in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, topped with fresh strips of basil to create the tomato "relish". Tonight, I've decided to coat the chicken in panko bread crumbs before baking. As a side we will do a simple pesto cream pasta.
I'm also very excited because I have a guest in my kitchen tonight, my dear friend Erin!!
Erin and I were overdue for girl-talk-wino-time and when I asked her where she wanted to go she said, "your kitchen, teach me a recipe," so here we are! Erin instructed that she wanted something that she could recreate with ease for her boyfriend Kevin. I decided to go with this stuffed chicken delight, a simple practice that can open the door to all kinds of stuffed chicken recipes for her to try on her own.
Erin doesn't have a mini-processor, so I got fresh pesto made at Whole Foods, rather than opting to make my own tonight. I also had to really stop and think about how much I was using for each ingredient, I never have measured out when making this so that was a challenge.
2 - 4 chicken cutlets (I made 4)
1 cup of fresh pesto or store bought pesto
Fresh mozzarella (I used one cut of the cheese block for each breast of chicken)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 box of noodles (use whichever you care for most, I used Rotini noodles because the swirl of the noodle gathers the flavor of the pesto so well!)
1 tomato, diced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 basil leaves, chiffonded
1/4 cup half & half
Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees and then boiling your noodles in a large pot. Next, take your chicken cutlets and spread the pesto on one half, then place the mozzarella on top of the pesto.
Gently fold the other half of the cutlet over the pesto and mozzarella filling. Lightly coat the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the bread crumbs over top the chicken, pressing them down to help adhere.
(I forgot to take a picture at this point, we were absorbed in conversation)
Check your noodles, if cooked through, go ahead and drain - add a little olive oil to coat them so they do not stick together and set aside. Take your tomato and dice it up. Combine tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small mixing bowl and let soak. I added a pinch of garlic salt, some pepper, then added the fresh chopped parsley.
Place your chicken in an oven safe dish and cook for 10 minutes. At the conclusion of 10 minutes, sprinkle parmesan over top the bread crumbs, then add your tomato relish to the top of the chicken breasts, top with fresh strips of basil (julienned, rolled tight into a "hot dog" then cut up and down the roll to make fresh strips).
Bake for another 10 minutes until bread crumbs are browned, tomatoes and basil are roasted and your kitchen is filled with mouth watering aromas! Pour your noodles into a pot and add the remaining pesto, then Half & Half to make the simple pesto cream sauce. Take your chicken out of the oven, and you are ready to serve!