Saturday, August 20, 2005

Pesto Chicken with Yellow Squash

Last weekend my famer's market purchases included some more of those wonderful baby yellow squashes and a packet of basil leaves. Originally I thought I would make pesto chicken with the squash on the side, but then I decided that yellow squash slathered in pesto sounded pretty great too! What I ended up with was chicken and yellow squash in sort of a deconstructed pesto sauce. I liked it very much, though there are a couple of things I would do differently next time. Also, though I really enjoyed the leftovers, this dish is best the first time around when the pesto is still fresh.

Pesto Chicken with Yellow Squash

juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 - 2 oz basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 or 4 small yellow squash, sliced
toasted pine nuts
parmesan cheese

I was hoping to get nicely carmelized chunks of chicken, so I chose to cut the chicken into approximately 1-inch chunks, marinate them, then thread them on skewers and broil. I did get some nice carmelization, but I also dried out the chicken. Next time I think I would marinate and broil the breast halves and then cut them into chunks after cooking.

Clean the chicken and cut into cubes if desired. Place the breast halves or cubes into a large ziploc bag. Combine the lemon juice with the olive oil, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the chicken in the bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Smoosh the chicken around so that it is coated all over with the lemon and oil mixture. Lay the bag in a dish so that chicken is in a single layer and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto in either a blender or food processor: first process the garlic and basil, then with the blender or processor running, pour in the olive oil through the opening in the top. Season to taste with salt.

Broil or grill the chicken. I sauteed the squash, but if you're grilling, you might grill the squash as well. If you're using breast halves, cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Combine the chicken, squash, and pesto. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.


Joycelyn said...

hi cathy, that looks truly delicious! is there nothing pesto doesn't taste good with ;) btw, am really enjoying your blog...cheers,j

Cathy said...

Thanks so much J! I wholeheartedly agree - I LOVE pesto!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god that looks great! I'm not much of a squash fan myself, but just reading the recipe made me mouthwater!

Cathy said...

Thanks Rachel!