Chicken and meatball pesto casserole

Pesto casseroleThe veg chaps at the market have been selling big bunches of basil all summer with leaves as big as spinach.

So I’ve been making a lot of pesto (very simply parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil whizzed together) and looking for different ways to use it. This one’s a lovely, light casserole.

The meatballs are optional, but I had some Toulouse sausages I wanted to use and they give excellent flavour to the sauce. I use the sausage ‘meatball’ technique a lot for pasta sausages – slit the skins lengthwise and remove then cut the sausage into four and round them off a bit.

Once they’re done, brown off some chicken thighs. Remove them and in the same pan, sweat an onion, carrot, celery, garlic and mushrooms.

Pour in a slug of white wine or vermouth to loosen any chickeny bits from the bottom of the pan and add a pile of chopped fresh tomatoes and a good couple of dollops of pesto.

Pesto casserole in the pot

Cover this with stock and stir well. This needs at least an hour in a medium/hot oven – about 170 degC. The sauce will thicken a little but stays quite light and fresh thanks to the tomatoes and pesto.

It was lovely with new potatoes and some garden beans.

Pesto casserole ready to serve

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Categories: Chicken and other birds, Student, Summer

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