Transform ordinary chicken breasts into an extraordinary meal with a family favorite recipe starring quick-fix homemade pesto and gooey mozzarella cheese. These flavor-packed protein pinwheels can be prepped in advance then seared and baked right before serving, which means an easy but impressive meal is only minutes away.
Place one chicken breast between 2 pieces of parchment paper or wax paper and pound it with a meat tenderizer (or the bottom of a heavy skillet) until it is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
Combine the basil, Parmesan, garlic and pine nuts in a blender. Pulse for 15 seconds, then with the blender running, stream in the oil. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed and continue blending until the pesto is pureed. Taste and season the pesto with salt and pepper.
Spread one-fourth of the pesto on one side of each of the chicken breasts, then top the pesto with 3 slices of mozzarella per chicken breast. Beginning at the shorter end, tightly roll up each chicken breast and secure it with a toothpick. Sprinkle the outsides of the roulades with salt and pepper.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add 2 to 3 tablespoons oil. Once the oil is hot, add the roulades and sear them on all sides until they're browned, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the roulades until they are cooked throughout and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the roulades from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. Remove the toothpicks, then slice and serve.
Make sure each chicken breast is at least 6 ounces in weight so that when they're pounded thin, they'll provide enough surface area on which to spread the pesto.
The tighter you roll your roulades, the more uniform the spirals.