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Playing Lidia Bastianich's Almond Pesto Trapanese over Seared Chicken


  • 6 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 12 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup salted toasted almonds
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano


Cut each chicken breast in half on the diagonal, making each piece about the same weight. Season with salt then rub with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Using a blender or food processor, pure the tomatoes, basil, almonds, garlic, 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and the crushed red pepper for about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. With the machine on, pour in the remaining oil in a steady stream to emulsify.

Preheat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, add the chicken breasts and sear until golden, a few minutes on each side (make sure not to overcook).

Transfer the chicken pieces to plates and top with the pesto. To serve, sprinkle the cheese on top.