Quick and easy, Baked Pesto Chicken with Mozarrella is the ultimate "winner-winner" chicken dinner recipe that is ready in less than 30 minutes. Pesto chicken bake is packed with flavor and features tender chicken breasts, topped with basil pesto, smothered in melted mozzarella cheese, and crowned with roasted tomatoes.
4chicken breasts or cutlets½ inch thick, boneless and skinless
3Roma tomatoesthinly sliced
1⅓cupsshredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
½teaspoonground black pepper
To begin, preheat your oven to 400 °F.
Spray a rimmed baking sheet lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on it and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
Top the breasts with plenty of pesto and ensure all surface areas are covered.
Next, pile on the mozzarella cheese and cover the top of the breasts entirely.
Then, top each breast with two or three tomato slices.
Bake the breasts for approximately 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken has reached 165 °F as measured by an instant-read meat thermometer. (I like to remove the pan from the oven when the temperature reads around 160-162 °F. The temperature will continue to climb to 165 ° while they rest.)
Let the breasts rest for five minutes and, if desired, garnish with a sprig of fresh basil. Serve immediately.
Chicken breasts are so large these days (mine were seven ounces each) I usually buy two for this recipe and then slice them in half horizontally. This yields four pieces that are about half an inch thick. You can also use cutlets.If your breasts are an uneven thickness, you will need to pound them until they are about the same. To do this, place a breast in a plastic storage bag, take a meat mallet or rolling pin, and gently pound the meat until it is half an inch thick. Repeat as needed. When I have it, I like to use my homemade basil pesto. Purchased refrigerated pesto is the next best thing, with jarred pesto coming in third. Jarred pesto still works, and I have made this recipe with it plenty of times, and it is still delicious. Pesto is a versatile condiment, and I always have a jar in my pantry. Try mixing it with pasta, adding it to mayonnaise to make basil pesto aioli or a homemade salad dressing, or use it instead of pizza sauce to top a homemade pizza. It's full of flavor and can be a real timesaver in the kitchen.You can save on clean-up by lining your baking sheet with aluminum foil or a sheet of parchment paper before adding the poultry.If you are a fan of dark meat, swap out the breasts with boneless, skinless thighs. However, the thighs will need to be cooked a little longer. This recipe calls for Roma tomatoes, and I think they work the best because they are not quite as juicy as other varieties. However, feel free to substitute whatever kind of tomatoes you have on hand; even cherry tomatoes work. Don't be shocked if you see a bunch of oil or liquid at the bottom of your pan after the poultry is done. This is the olive oil from the pesto and won't hurt anything.