Detox this New Year with this delicious, well-balanced dish. Simply fill chicken breasts with pesto sauce, basil leaves and some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
In a roasting pan, coat the chopped vegetables in a little olive oil and place the chicken breasts on top. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes before serving.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, known as ‘Parmesan’, is one of the world’s oldest and richest cheeses – still produced today as it was nine centuries ago.
Totally natural – it’s the only cheese that has such an extensive maturation which improves the nutrition, aroma and taste.
The use of raw milk and the richness of natural ingredients make this cheese a unique and superior product – It takes 16 litres of milk to produce one kilogram of cheese!
The minimum maturation time for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is 12 months, but only when it reaches approximately 24 months of age, is it at its best. As well as having fantastic nutritional qualities, it’s easy to digest and is high in calcium.
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product. PDOs are defined and protected by European Union law in order to defend the reputation of regional foods.
This mark ensures that Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can only be produced in designated areas near Parma and using specified artisan methods.
Chicken Breasts with Pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 tsp green pesto sauce
75g (3oz) Parmigiano-Reggiano
12 fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
500g (1lb 2oz) baby carrots, halved
2 peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 large red onion, sliced into thin wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
â€¢ Preheat the oven to 190Â°C / fan oven 170Â°C / Gas Mark 5
â€¢ Using a sharp knife, slice a pocket into each chicken breast and open it up. Spread one teaspoon of pesto sauce into each one, and share the Parmigiano-Reggiano between them. Top with the basil leaves, then close the pockets and secure with cocktail sticks.
â€¢ Spoon two tablespoons of the olive oil into a roasting pan and add all the vegetables, tossing them to coat. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste. Arrange the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil over them, and transfer to the oven.
â€¢ Roast for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender. Serve at once.
Cook’s tip: Use red pesto sauce or sun-dried tomato puree as an alternative to green pesto.
The Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano
Photography and Reportage: Steve Lee
Recipe and Food Styling: Sue Ashworth