Roasted Pesto Chicken

Rub a homemade pesto beneath the skin to flavor the entire chicken with nutty basil goodness. A simple wine sauce completes the dish with style.

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  • 1 5 - 6 pound whole roasting chicken
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Basil leaves (optional)
To prepare pesto, in a food processor bowl or blender container combine fresh basil, walnuts, and the 2 cloves garlic. Cover and process or blend until mixed. With motor running, add olive oil in a slow steady stream. Turn off. Add Parmesan cheese and pepper to taste. Process or blend until smooth.
Slip your fingers between the skin and breast meat of the bird and between the skin and leg meat of the bird, forming pockets. Spoon some of the pesto into pockets. Spoon some of the pesto loosely into the neck cavity. Pull neck skin to back; fasten with a small skewer. Lightly spoon some of the pesto into the body cavity. Rub remaining pesto over outside of chicken. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin that crosses the tail. If there is no band, tie drumsticks to the tail. Twist the wing tips under the chicken.
Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of one of the thigh muscles. The bulb should not touch bone. Roast, uncovered, in a 325 degree F oven for 1-3/4 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 185 degrees F. At this time, chicken is no longer pink and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. When the bird is two-thirds done, cut the band of skin or string between the drumsticks so the thighs cook evenly. Transfer chicken to a platter. Let stand 10 to 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small saucepan cook the 1 clove garlic in margarine or butter. Stir in flour. Add broth and white wine. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve sauce with sliced chicken. Garnish with basil, if desired. Makes 10 servings.

Make Ahead Tip

  • Prepare pesto. Cover and chill up to 48 hours or freeze up to 3 months. Thaw before using.

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 391, Fat, total (g) 26, chol. (mg) 97, sat. fat (g) 6, carb. (g) 3, fiber (g) 1, pro. (g) 35, sodium (mg) 252, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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