Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Chicken: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to an even thickness)
  • Salt and pepper: to taste
  • Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Panko breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup
  • Parmesan Cheese: 1/4 cup grated
  • Egg: 1 large, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil: 1-2 tablespoons
  • Pesto: 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade
  • Marinara sauce: 1 cup
  • Mozzarella cheese: 8 oz, sliced

Equipment:

  • Baking dish (9×13 inch)
  • Shallow bowls or pie plates for breading
  • Meat mallet (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease your baking dish lightly.

Prepare the chicken:

  • If chicken breasts are not an even thickness, use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound them gently until uniform.
  • Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.

Set up breading station:

  • In one shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs (Italian and Panko) and Parmesan cheese.
  • In a second shallow bowl, place the beaten egg.

Bread the chicken:

  • Dip each chicken breast in the egg mixture, coating completely.
  • Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to help the coating adhere.

Brown the chicken (optional, but recommended):

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes per side, just until golden brown. This step helps create a crispy crust, but you can skip it if you’re short on time.

Assemble:

  • Place chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread a generous layer of pesto over each chicken breast.
  • Top the pesto layer with marinara sauce.
  • Arrange mozzarella cheese slices over the sauce.

Bake: Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C) and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve: Serve immediately with your favorite pasta, salad, or roasted vegetables. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.

Tips:

  • Homemade pesto: If you have time, homemade pesto adds amazing flavor! Check online for easy recipes.
  • Breadth of chicken: Pounding the chicken to uniform thickness promotes even cooking.
  • Cheese variation: Experiment with other cheeses like provolone or fontina!

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