Monday, July 2, 2012

Pesto Glazed Chicken with Herbed Capellini

Pesto Glazed Chicken with Herbed Capellini

Recognize this dish? Again, I struggled with the idea of publishing this dish here because it's not that challenging and I wanted to keep you all guessing the dish behind the title above but this is too good not to share.

The Challenge

Recreate restaurant style elegance on a weeknight at home.

The Source

This Curtis Stone recipe has been adapted from Huffington Post.


2 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, cut into a coarse chiffonade
1/3 cup pine nuts (I used walnuts-they're cheaper), toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (or more) plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
9 ounces dried capellini (angel hair) or other long pasta
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish
2 tablespoons torn basil leaves, for garnish


1. For the pesto, combine the garlic cloves, basil, walnuts, Parmesan in a blender. With the blender running, slowly drizzle olive oil into the blender until the mixture is a loose paste. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pulse until...
...this consistency

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F and fire the salted water over high heat to a boil.

3. Heat tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken breasts just until golden brown but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the pan from the heat. Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken breasts.

After two minutes on the first side

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is just cooked through, about 8 minutes. (If you don't have an oven-proof pan, transfer to a baking dish before placing in the oven.)

After 8 minutes in the oven

4. While the chicken cooks in the oven, drop the pasta in the boiling salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking (about a minute less than the box instructions dictate). Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the reserved pasta cooking water to blend well. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.

5. To plate, use a two-pronged carving fork swirl some of the pasta around the fork and slide the pasta off the fork and mound it in the center of a plate. Repeat for each serving. Cut each chicken breast crosswise and on a bias into 4 slices. Fan the chicken slices alongside the pasta. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese, and torn basil. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over and serve.


I normally don't take pictures of my prep work, but in this case I wanted to highlight the importance of toasting the nuts used in the pesto. It gives pesto another dimension of flavor. Put the nuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing every minute until lightly browned.


Absolutely! With the pesto prepped beforehand, I was able to complete steps 2 through 5 in under an hour, which makes this dish perfect for weeknight entertaining.

By the way, the un-cropped picture above follows:


  1. looks delicious! great recipe for a weeknight dinner. I have been looking at a recipe that asks for pine nuts but I think I may just use walnuts as a replacement!

  2. Great job! It's not easy to pull off restaurant-like meal and you nailed it! ;-)

  3. Looks delicious and very elegant!I love pesto and using it on the chicken is great idea :)

  4. Well done! It looks just like the one you can order in the restaurants.

  5. hi, thanks for your submission yesterday
    don't forget to submit again at
    we always waiting for your mouthwatering photos

  6. This whole recipe sounds glorious! I love chicken and pesto together. :)

  7. Oh wow, I love Curtis Stone. He's such a hottie. I used to watch Take Home Chef. He's go mad skills. But I'll be honest I am not sure I actually saw anything he made. Such a huge fan. Then he went on The Apprentice and underwhelmed me and my crush went away. Well not really, but less stalkerish I suppose.

    Okay so yeah to chicken. Woot to pesto glaze. And holler to herbs. I have a tendency to get lazy and not toast nuts. I need to work on being less lazy. You apparently do not. This rocks.

    1. Kim, I'll take your word on Chef Stone's hotness. I'm a heterosexual male and wouldn't know a good looking man if one came up and slapped me along side the head.

    2. Oh ya, totally trust me. Total hottie. He's the male equivalent to Padma Lakshmi.

  8. This looks easy and delicious. I've made and used my first batch of pesto this looks like it's time to whip up some more so I can try this recipe!

  9. wow, that looks like a delicious meal!

  10. Sometimes it's the simple meals and not the challenging that we gravitate towards. I would love to eat this any night!

  11. that's a great meal and i love how it can be prepared within an hour!!!
    for me, it's all about easy and fast meals, especially with a little one...hehe
    -Abeer @

  12. Hi DB,
    Wow does this look good! I love that you made your own homemade pesto, don't think I've ever done that. Thanks for sharing:)


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