Chicken with Pesto Cream

Save Recipe
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Share This Recipe


1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

3 tablespoons pine nuts 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for pesto, plus 2 tablespoons, for chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

4 tablespoons salted butter 

1 small red onion, sliced 

2 bunches rainbow chard, leaves torn, thick, bottom half of stalks discarded 

1 lemon, juiced 

1 1/2 cups heavy cream 

1 cup mixed yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, half of the garlic, salt and black pepper and pulse to combine. With the food processor running, drizzle in the 1/3 cup olive oil until the sauce comes together and is smooth. Set aside.
  2. Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally so you have 8 thinner cutlets. Sprinkle both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the cutlets and cook through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil along with the red onion and remaining sliced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rainbow chard and cook, stirring, until lightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and stir for an additional 30 seconds. Remove to a plate.
  5. Without cleaning the skillet, add the cream and heat for 1 minute. Stir in about a third of a cup of the pesto and return the chicken to the pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. (Refrigerate the remaining pesto in an air tight container for up to 5 days.)
  6. Make a bed of rainbow chard on a large platter. Top with the chicken cutlets and drizzle the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the tomatoes and serve.