Friday, August 27, 2010

Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce

The weather has cooled down quite a bit and it's put me in a comfort food mood. One comfort food I love is pasta. Who doesn't like pasta? All the various shapes, flavors, textures... and let's not forget the wonderful sauces to eat them with! Since I'm back in school this week, I don't have much time to whip up meals like I used to (not to mention a 3+ month old to cater to!). However when I came across this recipe for Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce, I was surprised that it took me less than 30 minutes to put together. This Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce is so luxuriously silky and flavorful, you'd think it took awhile to make...

This dish accompanies pasta beautifully. First boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seasoned and browned in a skillet. They're set aside while mushrooms are caramelized in the same skillet with a touch of minced garlic. As little bits start to form on the bottom of the skillet, it's quickly deglazed with both heavy cream and chicken broth. The browned chicken is added and simmered in this creamy sauce until cooked through. The chicken is removed from the pan once again, sliced and set aside. To the sauce still left in the pan, a classic basil pesto (homemade or store bought) is added back in with a touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice. 

The sauce is a wonderful, creamy consistency and the mushrooms add a nice earthy depth of flavor. I made a fresh, homemade pesto to use in this dish, but you can certainly use store bought (found in the refrigerated section). Feel free to serve this over your choice of pasta. I served it over simple angel hair with a side salad.

Chicken with Pesto Mushroom Cream Sauce
recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-2 large portobello mushroom heads, sliced in bite sized pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cooking chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.

Add remaining oil to skillet and cook mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, add cream, broth and chicken to skillet, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Return skillet to high heat and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes, Off heat, stir in pesto and lemon juice and season with salt & pepper. Serve sauce on the side or over chicken.