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Chicken Genovese (Pesto-Roasted Chicken)

Dress your roast chicken in bright green pesto. We love a classic roast chicken as much as the next guy, but every once in a while we like to dress it up. And there's no better way to use up an abundance of fresh herbs than with a basil pesto, which not only imparts herby flavor but the spice of garlic and richness of cheese and nuts. It's a favorite easy dinner to serve.

Prep Time

    •    Prep time: 25 minutes
    •    Cook time: 35 minutes
    •    Yield: Serves 4


For the Pesto:

    •    1/2 cup olive oil
    •    1 tbsp lemon zest
    •    1/4 cup lemon juice
    •    4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    •    1/4 cup freshly grated grana padano
    •    2 cups basil leaves, plus more for garnish
    •    Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
    •    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
    •    1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus more for garnish
    •    1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for garnish

For the Chicken:

    •    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    •    One 4 to 5 pound chicken, broken into 8 pieces


  1. Make the pesto: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil and salt and pepper. Purée until smooth, then, with the motor running, stream in the oil until a smooth pesto forms. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then toss with half of the pesto, rubbing under the skin. Place on a wire rack over a baking sheet and roast until it has reached an internal temperature of 155°, 30 minutes. Turn on the broiler and continue to cook until the chicken is golden brown and has reached an internal temperature of 165°, 4 to 6 minutes more. Let rest for 5 minutes.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Dollop the remaining pesto over top. Garnish with basil leaves, Parmesan, pine nuts and red pepper flakes, then serve.

This great family recipe is thanks to Tasting Table Recipes at


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