Pesto Rosso Chicken on Portabellas

 A few things I hate:
1)         Large spiders
2)        Small spiders
3)        Olives
4)        Doing dishes
5)        Flying

A few things I love:
1)        Wine
2)        Flip flops
3)        Hokie football
4)        Charleston, SC
5)        Fresh herbs

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I've been on quite the rosemary kick these last few weeks.  (At least it’s one of the healthier things on the “love” list above!)  So, I have been throwing rosemary in everything, from baked rosemary orange chicken (coming soon) to rosemary gelato (think creamy goodness plus a little kick of earthy rosemary… recipe definitely coming soon).  And, yup, you guessed it, I snuck some rosemary into this pesto rosso dish. 

This pesto combines lots of my favorite ingredients: sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and garlic. 

It would go great with pasta, or if you’re trying your damndest to avoid carbs like I am, pile it on top of a roasted portabella.  Heck, have a contest to see who can mound the most of the pesto rosso chicken on top of their portabella.  Kinda like Jenga.  All the cool kids are doing it.   

4 whole portabella mushrooms
Cooking spray
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large package chicken breasts (~ 3 breasts), trimmed and cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 fresh sweet bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1/4 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
8 ounces (or about 2 whole) roasted red peppers (roast your own peppers or use jarred)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
4 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed from the stem
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons pine nuts
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for topping, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the stems.   Place the mushrooms on a baking dish and spray with cooking spray.  Roast the mushrooms for about 10 minutes until browned, keeping an eye on the mushrooms to avoid over-cooking.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté until golden brown on all sides, about 6 - 8 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Wipe the pan out with a paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the sliced bell peppers and onions to the pan.  Sauté for about 10 minutes until the vegetables start to caramelize. 

Meanwhile, add the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, sage, rosemary, garlic, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes to the bowl of a large food processor.  Process on low speed until the ingredients are combined.  Stir in the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  If needed, drizzle in a few more tablespoons of olive oil while processing further to reach the desired consistency.

Add the chicken and pesto sauce to the sauté pan with the vegetables.  Stir to coat all of the chicken and vegetables with the sauce and cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Serve immediately atop the portabellas.  Top with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.