The complex flavor of fresh basil appeals to Jerry Traunfeld. He makes a chunky, fresh-tomato sauce that enhances basil's natural spiciness with cinnamon, star anise and ginger, creating a simple but exotic topping for moist chicken breasts.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Couscous or orzo, for serving
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, star anise and ginger and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, turning the chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to plates. Stir the basil into the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with couscous.