Italian Pesto Chicken

Italian cuisine follows the Mediterranean theory of eating with a focus on simplicity. Natural quality ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs, parmesan, pasta, breadcrumbs and pesto along with a few other key ingredients would make up a basic Italian pantry. This recipe uses many of these pantry stables and the result is sensational.




Preparation time

5 mins

Cooking time

25 mins


  • 4 medium sized chicken breast skin off
  • 50g coarse fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons good quality pesto
  • 50g grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • zest of half a lemon (optional)
  • to serve
  • extra basil leaves to decorate


  1. Preheat your oven to 190ºC. Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, pesto, parsley and lemon zest together and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix crushed tomatoes, water, basil and garlic thoroughly in a small bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  3. Brush a shallow ovenproof dish with olive oil.
  4. Place the chicken breasts in the dish and then pour the tomato mix round them so the chicken breasts sit just above the tomato mix. 
  5. Cover the chicken breasts with a generous layer of the crumb mix. 
  6. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crumb is golden. Serve with buttered pasta and a green salad. 

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