- Prep Time: 10 min
- Total Time: 40 min
- Yield: 4 to 6
- 4 chicken breasts, about 2.75 pounds total weight (select breasts on the thicker side)
- 1 jar 3.5oz Alessi Sundried Tomato Pesto, dividedAdd
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, divided
- 8 slices mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Alessi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Alessi Kosher Sea Salt, to taste for seasoningAdd
- Alessi Black Peppercorns, to taste for seasoning
- one 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, no salt added (I used these with basil added); don’t drain
- Alessi Balsamic Reduction, optional for drizzlingAdd
- Preheat oven to 400F. Using a sharp paring knife, make a pocket in each of the chicken breasts, going about 80% of the way through, taking care not to slice all the way through.
- Open each chicken breast and spread about 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato pesto to each breast, spreading it on both the top and bottom interior surfaces.
- Fold each slice of cheese in half and add 2 slices of cheese to each breast.
- Add about 4 basil leaves to each and seal using toothpicks that are inserted horizontally, almost like you are ‘sewing’ and the toothpick is your needle. You don’t want the toothpicks sticking straight up like fenceposts. You want them flush with the chicken and woven in which will help prevent leakage during cooking.
- To a large, oven-proof skillet, add the olive oil, add the chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, and sear for about 3 minutes per side, or until chicken is lightly golden browned.
- Transfer skillet to the oven (keep the toothpicks in) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is nearly cooked through.
- In the last 5 minutes of cooking evenly add the diced tomatoes around the skillet, return to oven, and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165F). All ovens, skillets, and thickness of chicken breasts vary so cooking times will vary; cook as necessary until done given your variables.
- Spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken and garnish with fresh basil, to taste. Optionally, drizzle with balsamic reduction to taste and serve immediately. Remember to take the toothpicks out or remind those eating it that there are toothpicks present. Chicken is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Featured on: Averie Cooks