Pesto-stuffed chicken breasts

Quite a nice dish for warmer evenings.

You can use ready-made pesto, but sometimes it is too runny to use as a stuffing. I made my own from basil, pecorino cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic.

You cut a slit into the chicken breasts and put a few teaspoons of pesto inside, ready to roast them in some olive oil in a hot oven.

The sauce is made from two seeded and roughly chopped red peppers, a quartered onion, a couple of halved tomatoes, a small red chilli, a large clove of garlic and some parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in olive oil until the skin of the peppers chars. This is all then blended to a smooth purée and will be warmed through to finish the dish.

The basic carbs part of the dish is some plain white rice and the vegetable accompaniment is slices of aubergines, salted to extract the massive amount of water they contain, dried and floured, then fried in some more olive oil. Once cooked, you can put the aubergine slices in the oven to keep warm as the chicken cooks.

The dish is basically about assembly and when plated up it can be drizzled with some of the basil-infused oil that is left in the dish the chicken has been roasted in.

You want a fairly big wine with this, it has southern, Mediterranean flavours, and to my mind a Châteauneuf-du-Pape is hard to beat, although any Rhône-style blend will work well here.

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