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Chicken with Pignoli Crust

Chicken with Pignoli Crust - A customer favorite at the East Side Grill in Northampton, Massachusetts - this recipe has been on the menu for years!

Years ago – long before food blogging and online recipe websites were as popular as they are today – some of the best places to find new and interesting recipes included magazines and local newspapers.

And, if you follow us here at A Family Feast on any sort of regular basis, then you already know that I have a collection of recipes that I clipped years ago from the pages of The Boston Globe newspaper’s food section.

This Chicken with Pignoli Crust is one of those recipes I clipped – and saved – for years! The Globe credits this delicious recipe to Dan Yacuzzo, chef at the East Side Grill located in Northampton, Massachusetts. According to the newspaper clipping, the Chicken with Pignoli Crust was one of the most popular entrees served at the restaurant. And after a quick search online – years later this dish is still on the menu at the East Side Grill!

Chicken with Pignoli Crust - A customer favorite at the East Side Grill in Northampton, Massachusetts - this recipe has been on the menu for years!

The restaurant’s menu describes this dish as ‘a boneless breast with a pine nut crust, topped with mushrooms in a sun-dried tomato basil cream.’ The East Side Grill serves this dish over buttermilk mashed potatoes – but we think it goes equally well with pasta or a salad on the side.

The recipe shared below is 99% true to the original recipe – but we added some additional seasonings to the pignoli crust to better suit our tastes.

This restaurant-quality dish is fancy enough to serve at a special dinner party – but it’s easy enough to enjoy any night of the week!

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Chicken with Pignoli Crust

Chicken with Pignoli Crust - A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (if using the tomatoes that are packed in oil, drain well and pat dry)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed fresh basil, snipped
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Butterfly each breast then cut in half to make two even pieces from each breast for a total of four pieces. Then cover each piece with plastic and pound to ¼ inch thick.
  2. In a small dry sauté pan, over medium heat toast the pine nuts until golden brown.
  3. Cool the pine nuts then place in a food processor with ½ cup of the flour and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine. Pour out into a pie plate.
  4. In a second pie plate place the remaining ½ cup of flour with the salt and pepper and combine.
  5. In a third pie plate or bowl, mix egg yolks with the milk.
  6. Take each piece of chicken and first dip in the plate with the flour, salt and pepper. Shake off excess and then dip in the egg mixture. Shake off excess and place in pine nut mixture and press into the mixture on one side only and remove each piece to a plate. One side will be fully breaded and the other just flour and egg.
  7. Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Once hot, place the chicken pine nut side down and cook for about three minutes until golden brown and flip. Cook on the other side for another three minutes. You may need to do this in two batches.
  8. Leave the pan on medium high and add the chicken stock. Stir any brown bits from the pan and add the mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes.
  9. Stir to combine and add the cream and basil. Simmer this mixture until the mushrooms are cooked and the mixture is reduced by half. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  10. To serve, place a spoonful of the sauce over each cooked chicken piece.

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Chicken with Pignoli Crust - A customer favorite at the East Side Grill in Northampton, Massachusetts - this recipe has been on the menu for years!

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  1. Talk about clipping recipes, I have started an entire blinder with the recipes from your and Jack’s blog. You never fail to inspire me, this one is no exception.
    Loved seeing the pictures you posted on the remodeling of your kitchen. It looks great!!!
    Have a blessed weekend.

    • Aww…thank you so much Linda! You’ve really made our day! Thank you for writing to us and we’re very glad you are continuing to enjoy our recipes! xoxo Martha

  2. OMG Martha!!! You’ve hit another one out of the ballpark with this!!!
    BTW, I inherited my mother’s clippings from NY Daily News/NY Post/NY Times (and I think there’s some in there from now-defunct papers too like Journal American and all). And if you can believe it, and I bet you do, I have one clipping stuck on my fridge from our local paper and it’s the best cookie recipe I’ve ever eaten. It’s all old and yellowed but I save it for sentimental value. Been up there over 20 years now.

  3. CARL SCARBOROUGH :

    Years and years ago I had the pleasure of having a Chicken dish in a broth that included pignoli nuts, not breaded with them. This was served in an out of the way (restaurant that was behind a used furniture store in the Soho district of NYC. Everything in the restaurant was for sale, chairs, tables, tableware, etc. What a unusual and delicious experience that was. When leaving, the manager asked we not advertise it to keep it a local experience. Too bad I did not ask for the recipe. Will give your recipe a go and hope to enjoy as much.