Genovese Pesto Chicken (Grilled) with Fava Beans and Pine Nuts on a bed of Arugula
My mom's family is from a northern region of Italy called Liguria. Ligurians are very proud of their pesto sauce among many other amazing dishes such as Foccacia bread. Through the years, my family has kept a very traditional recipe for their pesto. However, I've since doing some research I've seen recipes using kale, arugula, walnuts or almonds instead of basil and pine nuts. Here is a great read about the history of pesto. If you'd like a great recipe for pesto, check out Culinaria Italia – Italian Food and Cooking.
I really enjoy pesto and can eat it on almost anything; lasagna, potatoes and beans, pasta, meat, pizza, ect. However, it's so high in fat and calories. Not great if you're on a diet or trying to lose weight for a Hawaii trip in one week. Think bikini!
How do I make a 'less-fating' pesto dish where I can enjoy the flavor without the temptation of over-saucing. Got it. Marinate the chicken breast in the pesto sauce!
To start, make a homemade pesto sauce. Add uncooked chicken breast and pesto sauce in a glass bowl. Toss, cover and refrigerate for several hours. Do this step in the morning before you leave for work and by the time you're home the chicken will be ready to cook.
Slowly heat your Staub 12inch grill pan with cast iron press - use 3 tablespoons of oil while heating the grill.
Staub Cherry Square Grill Pan, 12" (Google Affiliate Ad)
Once the grill pan and press are hot, add the pesto chicken breast and cover with the cast iron press. Cook well on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Flip and repeat. Depending on your stove top, cooking time may differ.
While chicken is cooking, work on your fava beans. Start by shelling them out of their pods and soaking them in cold water.
Staub Marin-Blue Square Grill Pan, 12" (Google Affiliate Ad)
Dry the fava beans and, if you want, remove the skin. Lidia's Italy Blog explains in an easy to follow, step-by-step way to clean and remove skin from fava beans. They taste and cook better with skin off. Cook on low heat with olive oil and sail.
I use about 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. Some interesting facts about pine nuts:
1. Pine nuts take 18 months to complete its maturity; however, to reach full maturity, the environmental conditions must be favorable for the tree and its cone
2. Pinyon pine cone production is most commonly found at an elevation between 6,000 feet (1,800 m) and 8,500 feet (2,600 m)
Cook on low-medium heat with salt and olive oil for about 4 minutes
All-Clad Copper-Core Fry Pan - 10" - All-Clad Copper Core (Google Affiliate Ad)
Once Chicken is cooked (never undercook chicken), remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes.
Toss the arugula, pine nuts, fava beans with a lemon olive oil dressing. Slice the chicken breast and plate! Voilà!
- 2 chicken breast
- 1 cup of homemade pesto
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 cups fava beans
- pinch of salt and pepper
- olive oil
- bunch arugula
Kale Almond Pesto