polenta rounds with pesto chicken

by Amy on 19 January 2011

honey’s mom had her birthday recently, + we all got together on monday to celebrate over a lasagna dinner. i was asked to make an appetizer, + after reading lots of recipes (including my friend vivek’s white bean bruschetta, which i came thisclose to making), i remembered this recipe. i had seen giada de laurentis make these on her cooking show a few months ago, + while i liked her preparation, i decided to make some changes.

i used prepared polenta instead of instant polenta, sauteed the the rounds to make ’em warm,+ topped ’em with tomatoes instead of dried cranberries. they were a huge hit! they were savory + flavorful without being too heavy or competing, flavor-wise, with the lasagna. i will absolutely be making these again, perhaps topping half with tomatoes + half with toasted pine nuts next time.

polenta rounds topped with pesto chicken + tomatoes

makes about 16 rounds, adapted from giada de laurentis


extra-virgin olive oil
1 package prepared polenta (i use san gennaro brand)
2 cups shredded cooked white meat chicken
1/2 cup pesto (either homemade or store-bought)
kosher salt + freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped roma tomatoes


slice polenta into 1/2” thick rounds. lightly salt + pepper both sides. heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large pan + once heated, add polenta. cook 10-15 minutes, flipping once, until polenta is heated through + slightly browned. remove polenta from pan + place on a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil.

meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken + pesto, then add salt, + pepper to taste. stir to combine.

top each polenta round with a spoonful of pesto chicken. + then top half with chopped tomatoes, but you can top all or none with tomatoes depending on your love of tomatoes.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tracey January 19, 2011 at 10:56 am

I love this.I was garde manger at an Italian restaurant for a very long time, and we did a chicken pesto salad with sun dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts,we would change our menu seasonally,but always left this on in one form or another,people simply loved it.We would even do it warmed up under a salamander on bruschetta,with a drizzle of olive oil right before service.In the summer we would just offer it over a bed of mixed greens with shaved parmesan.This looks delicious on the polenta.I say yummalicious.

2 amy January 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

ooh, sundried tomatoes would be great. i knew that our family wouldn’t love the dried craisins that the recipe called for, so i substituted fresh chopped romas, although i think your idea of sundried tomatoes and/or toasted pine nuts would be even better. i agree that the pesto chicken is super versatile – we didn’t use all of it for the polenta rounds, so we’re going to toss it with fresh pasta for dinner one night, or i like your idea of putting on a bed of greens. yummalicious indeed!

3 Scott January 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I love this. What a great picture. What kind of martini would pair best with this do you suppose?

4 amy January 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

thank you so much for the picture compliment! i just upgraded from a point-and-shoot to an SLR, so i’m trying to learn the ropes. hmm, what type of martini to serve? i actually think a slightly citrusy martini – maybe something with lemon. actually, i think a vodka martini, straight up, with a little fresh lemon juice + a lemon twist would be delicious. ooh, or maybe something using elderflower liqueur? let me get back to you on that one. =)

5 Sheri January 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Oh my goodness. This sounds amazing! Where can I find premade polenta?

6 amy January 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

in our local kroger (which is very small), they sell it in the tiny organic section, + it’s in a tube/cylindrical shape (which sounds weird, but it isn’t, i swear…)! trader joe’s also sells it, if i remember correctly, in the pasta/rice aisle. it’s un-refrigerated in both stores. hope this helps + i hope you enjoy it!

7 Agness of Run Agness Run October 4, 2017 at 2:58 pm

This is one of the rare recipes with polenta which I love, Amy! It is definitely mouth-watering. Do you have a good homemade pesto recipe?

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