Gluten-free means you can never have authentic Italian food again, right? WRONG! There’s so much more to Italian food than pasta. Here’s one of my favorite 1-pan Italian dinner bakes that hits the rights notes with the whole family.
Ingredients (in order of use):
- 1.5 cups white rice (long grain, jasmine, basmati, whatever)
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings already included
- 2 cups water, chicken stock, or combination (especially if you have some you just need to use up in the fridge)
- 2 lb. chicken breast and/or thighs, skinless, boneless (roughly 4 pieces, 1 per person)
- 1 8 oz container of pesto
NOTE: this is the semi-homemade version, as Sandra Lee might say; you can certainly make your own chicken stock, dice your own tomatoes, and blend your own herbs into pesto if you’re so inclined.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
In an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, combine the rice, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock (or water). Put in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove and stir mixture; most of the rice will still be small and hard – don’t worry – that’s normal!
Add your four pieces of chicken. Spoon roughly equal amounts of pesto over each one – approximately 3 Tbspns – and spread to cover the chicken.
Return to oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on how large/thick your chicken pieces are.
This dish is really great for Southern American families where red rice is king; the minor change up in herb seasonings helps keep things fresh without completely blowing picking kids for a loop.
TIP: make ahead and reheat or freeze. When you thaw it out, add about 1 cup of stock or water to make sure the rice doesn’t dry out when heated in a 350°F oven for about 30- minutes (assuming thawed to room temperature.