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Chicken Spiedini on Pesto Pasta

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Ingredients

4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup shredded Havarti cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
1 (16 ounce) package frozen peas
1 (9 ounce) container basil pesto
1/3 cup whipping cream
8 bacon slices, crisply cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Chicken Spiedini on Pesto Pasta

  • Serves 4
  • Medium

About This Recipe

This recipe is one of the more complicated in my repertoire. I don’t make it often – only when I want to really make something indulgent and delicious. This recipe for Chicken Spiedini with Pesto Pasta is simply fabulous.

It’s a delicious twist on a classic chicken and spaghetti recipe, with tons of flavor and texture. Spiedini is usually made of chicken strips that are threaded onto skewers and grilled or broiled, but I like it make with big chunks of chicken that are marinated in herbs, stuffed with cheese, coated in bread crumbs, and baked until juicy and tender. And who doesn’t like pasta with cream, peas, and bacon?

Serve this recipe with a green salad dressed with Italian or ranch dressing and tossed with some crisp bell pepper strips. Or make a fruit salad, like Berry Salad with Orange Honey Dressing. For dessert, an easy bar cookie is best: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chewy Bars.

Tips for the best Chicken Spiedini on Pesto Pasta:

  • Stuffing the chicken pieces is optional, and kind of fussy. I only do that on very special occasions. You can use any type of cheese you’d like. But if you don’t want to, just cook the chicken without stuffing. The delicious crisp coating is really all the flavor you need.
  • Be sure you don’t overcook the chicken, but don’t undercook it either. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F, tested with a food thermometer.

Why this recipe works:

  • The breading on the chicken keeps it moist and juicy while it cooks, and it also helps hold the cheese in the pocket. Don’t skip this step.
  • Pesto and bacon added to tender cooked spaghetti add another layer of flavor to this special recipe.
  • It’s easier to bake the chicken than to fry it in a pan simply because the breading will stay on better. It’s also easier to make sure the chicken cooks through and cooks evenly for food safety reasons.

Steps

1
Done

Cut the chicken into 2" pieces.

2
Done

In a shallow bowl, combine the herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add the chicken pieces, toss to coat, and set aside.

3
Done

On a plate, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and melted butter and toss to combine.

4
Done

Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade) and, using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the side of each chicken piece. Stuff the chicken with some of the shredded Havarti cheese. You can omit this step if you'd like.

5
Done

Then add the chicken pieces to the bread mixture. Toss to coat, trying to press as much of the bread crumb mixture onto the chicken pieces as possible, concentrating on the slit where you stuffed the cheese.

6
Done

Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Now bring a large pot of salted water to a boil while the oven heats.

7
Done

Thread the chicken pieces on wooden skewers. Leave a tiny bit of space between each piece of chicken. I put three or four on a 6" skewer. Put the chicken pieces into the prepared baking dish. Bake the chicken for 20 to 30 minutes or until a food thermometer registers 165°F and the chicken is browned.

8
Done

When the chicken has about 11 minutes left in the oven, start cooking the pasta. This should take about 8 minutes. Put the frozen peas into a colander in the sink.

9
Done

When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta into the colander with the peas, return it to the pot, and add the pesto, cream, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and bacon, and toss.

10
Done

The chicken should be done now. Put some of the pasta mixture on a plate and top each plate with three to five of the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with more Parm if you'd like and serve immediately.

lindaBest

Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 50 books (49 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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