Pesto Chicken with Pistachio Crust

By zwerkowitch
September 23, 2010
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Pesto Chicken with Pistachio Crust

Author Notes: I got the idea for this recipe from listening to a radio show one afternoon. Someone was talking about making a crust for tilapia, I think, and I thought it would be good on chicken. I made it for my girlfriend with gnocchi and garlic bread, and served it with wine. I think you could probably stretch this recipe quite a bit, as a bit of pesto goes a long way.zwerkowitch

Serves: 2-4


  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (shells removed)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (shells removed)
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 450º. Remove shells from all pistachios & spread them on a cookie sheet. Toast them for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Put all pesto ingredients, except olive oil, in food processor or blender, and blend until finely chopped.
  3. Slowly add 1/3 cup olive oil, as you continue blending.
  4. Taste a bit. Add salt, pepper, etc, to your liking.
  5. Remove pesto to a bowl. Pat chicken breasts with a paper towel, if needed, and spread pesto on both sides of breasts. There should be plenty left over for pasta. I let mine sit with the sauce on them for about an hour, but it's not necessary.
  6. Use food processor to chop remaining 1/2 cup pistachios finely. (I would at least rinse it out before this step.)
  7. Pour pistachios into a shallow bowl or plate. Mix in Italian breadcrumbs. Coat both sides of chicken breasts with crunched pistachios. This will be the crust.
  8. Heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet. Cook chicken on high heat until done, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
  9. Serve with gnocchi, or your favorite pasta.

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