We are always trying to find new and exciting ways to bring our herbs to life. When we moved to Colorado, we moved into a condo complex, so any chance of having a garden in the ground was slim. We did have a large patio though, so Zach and I decided to create a container garden to grow our favorite herbs. Fortunately these little plants sprung to life, and sooner than later we were overwhelmed with herbs (mostly basil)! Sure you can add herbs to almost any dish to liven it up, but how do you use a lot of herbs at once!? Why, you make a pesto of course!
This pesto dish is not your everyday pesto dish, hence the name we gave it. Not only did we add a ton of basil, but we added oregano and marjoram as well (two other herbs we were overwhelmed with =). Add some pines nuts and pistachios and a touch of EVOO, and you have yourself a very simple, quick “sauce” for your pasta. We decided to take it one step further however, and add a breaded chicken to it. You can take or leave this step, but we thought it a great addition to this pesto. We are sure that you will find this dish as easy and quick to make as we did. This easy recipe makes it evident that you don’t have to put in a ton of hours to make something taste good. Fresh ingredients and some love make this dish a crowd pleaser.
At the beginning of the year, Zach and I visited a small brewery in southern California called Iron Fist Brewing Company. We fell in love from the very first taster. This is why we decided to pair this dish with their Belgian-style Strong Pale ale: Golden Age. It has an effervescence very similar to a champagne, so it helps to bring out the “nuttiness” in the pesto, which can often be masked by the amount of herbs, especially the basil. Basil can come off as being an overwhelmingly sweet ingredient in pesto, and we feel that this beer balances out those characteristics.
Have fun and enjoy this very easy and simple, yet elegant recipe!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded to 1/2 inch in thickness
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 oregano sprigs, stripped from stem and finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh water
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
- 2 to 3 sprigs oregano, stripped from stem
- 2 to 3 sprigs marjoram, stripped from stem
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/3 cup EVOO
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 lb box of pasta, preferably Farfalle or Penne
- salt and pepper
- basil and parmesan for garnish
- Begin, by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a food processor, add the pine nuts, pistachios, oregano leaves, marjoram leaves, basil leaves, and garlic and pulse until finely ground. Put your food processor on the puree setting, and as the concoction is pureeing, slowly add the EVOO into the top opening of the food processor. When is it well combined, set aside and refrigerate until ready for use.
- Now, prepare the breading for your chicken. On a large dinner plate, combine the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, chopped oregano, and a pinch of salt. In a small bowl, crack the egg and add 2 tablespoons of water and whisk to create an egg wash. Set the plate and bowl aside, and preheat a non-stick skillet at medium to medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the 5 tablespoons of softened butter. Let melt, then right away, in the following order, dip the chicken breast in the egg wash then the bread crumb mixture and place in the pan. Repeat this step for the other 3 pieces of chicken. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, frying the outer coat. When both sides have reached a golden brown color, remove from heat and place directly in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.
- When you have put the chicken in the oven, bring a pot of water to a boil and begin cooking your pasta until it reaches al dente. When the pasta has reached al dente, drain the excess water and add to your serving bowl, along with the pesto. Coat the pasta in the pesto and serve with the chicken. Garnish with a basil leave or two, some parmesan cheese, and a garlic crouton!