Recipe: 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 all the way through summer.

Since the pesto burns easily, we roast at a moderate temperature, then broil for crispy, golden skin. It's crucial to watch the chicken carefully to prevent burning. We like that this is a single sheet tray meal that uses a carved-up chicken, but you could just as easily rub the pesto on a whole chicken for a beautiful green bird to carve tableside.

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Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Chicken Genovese (Pesto-Roasted Chicken)
4.6 from 39 ratings
Rich pesto is rubbed under the skin before roasting for this herb-packed spring dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 1 hour
  • For the Pesto
  • 2 cups basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Grana Padano
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • For the Chicken
  • One 4-to-5-pound chicken, broken into 8 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  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.
Calories per Serving 1,154
Total Fat 92.0 g
Saturated Fat 22.3 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 272.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 1.1 g
Sodium 1,401.2 mg
Protein 73.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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