Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Garlic-Herb Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts & Pesto-Tomato Farfalle

One of the questions that people often ask when they hear that I’m a food blogger is, “How do you come up with the recipes that you write about?” I tell them that I don’t have one set method...sometimes I see something interesting on TV...sometimes a recipe in a magazine or cookbook grabs my attention. Then I play around with the recipe a bit to make it my own. Other times, I come up with something new based on what I have in my kitchen on a given day...and just let my imagination run wild. And then...sometimes? I stumble upon a fun product and build an original recipe around it. Which is exactly how I came up with the recipe I’m sharing today. When I was at the Pearl Farmers’ Market here in San Antonio last weekend, I bought some really yummy pesto from Humble House Foods, a local gourmet food company. Instead of the usual pine nuts, it's made with walnuts...along with lots of basil and parmesan!

The pesto was so fresh-tasting and yummy that I told them I was going to create a recipe using it and share it here on the blog. Locals can buy Humble House's full line of spreads on weekends at the Pearl Farmers Market or the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market...they don’t have retail or mail order at this time. I also had some of the amazing CKC Farms Herb Chevre left from the pork chops I stuffed on Saturday, so I wanted to use that in my recipe as well. What I came up with was Garlic-Herb Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts & Pesto-Tomato Farfalle. The chicken is simply seasoned and roasted in the oven. I wanted the flavor to be mild so the creamy goat cheese was front and center. The pasta is so simple: cooked farfalle (bowtie), Humble House Pesto, and Red Gold Italian-flavored tomatoes.

Garlic-Herb Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts & 
Pesto-Tomato Farfalle
a Weekend Gourmet Original

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 375. Layer the following ingredients in an oval casserole: 2 tbs. olive oil, 2-3 grated garlic cloves, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme. 

Step 2:  Cut a small, deep pocket into the meaty portion of three boneless, skin-on chicken breasts. Stuff @1 tbs. of your favorite goat cheese into the pocket and secure the meat with a wooden skewer or sturdy toothpick. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the herb-garlic mixture in the pan. Brush each piece of chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and a bit garlic salt to taste. Roast the until the skin is golden and the chicken is cooked through...between 30-40 minutes.

Step 3:  While the chicken roasts, make the pasta. Cook 8 ounces farfalle pasta in well salted water until al dente. Drain and return to pan. Add 8 ounces of your favorite pesto -- homemade or prepared -- and half a can of well-drained Red Gold tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano. Toss to combine and spoon the pasta onto a serving platter. When the chicken is cooked, remove the skewers and arrange on top of the pasta. Just before serving, sprinkle the entire dish with a bit of shredded parmesan.

This combination of flavors in this dish worked together really nicely! The garlicky herb base that the chicken rested on while roasting infused a gentle flavor to the moist meat, but it didn’t overpower the creamy herbed goat cheese. We really liked the subtle heat the addition of red pepper flakes added in the background. The pesto-tomato combo on the pasta was really nice, and the flavors worked well with the chicken. Feel free to sub in your favorite homemade or commercial pesto in this recipe...but if you’re in the San Antonio area, try to get your hands on some of Humble House’s yummy pesto!

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