This recipe comes from Stacks: The Art of Vertical Food, by Deborah Fabricant.  For a better understanding of this dish, see my review.

Italian Chicken Stacks

Yield: 6 Servings

When making stacks with pasta, make sure you allow the resting period after baking.  This allows the hot pasta to cool enough to allow the gluten to activate, holding the stack together.

Planning Ahead


Advance Preparation

Place the chicken breasts over hot coals and grill, turning once, for about 20 minutes, or until the center is no longer pink.  Remove from the grill, let stand 5 minutes, then coarsely chop.  Set aside.

To make the tomatoes, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, basil, garlic, onions, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.  Just prior to assembling the stacks, very quickly saute the tomato mixture over high heat for 3 minutes.

To make the pasta, prepare according to the package directions and drain.


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spray 6 stack cylinders with vegetable spray and place them on a sheet pan.  Layer in the following order:  3 tablespoons pasta, 2 tablespoons tomatoes, 2 tablespoons chicken, 1 tablespoon ricotta, 1 teaspoon pesto, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, 1 teaspoon pine nuts.  Repeat and top with a third layer of pasta.  Press down gently but firmly.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let stand 3 minutes.

To serve, slide a spatula under each stack cylinder and transfer to a serving plate.  Unmold, garnish with any remaining tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmesan, and serve.

Shortcut Stacks


Yield: 1 cup

Place the basil and garlic in a food processor and chop very fine.  Slowly add the olive oil.  Using an on-off motion, pulse to blend.  Store the pesto covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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