I made this for lunch today, turned out really tasty! Here is the recipe that I came up with! I'm so glad that I added the Pesto to it. You could leave it out, but I don't believe you will have the same depth of flavor. I made this in my 8qt Duo! When I uncovered the pan there was some liquid on top. It was partly oil from the Basil Pesto, I just dabbed it off with a paper towel before browning!