Chicken Pesto Pasta – This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those small packets of powdered pasta sauce mix that I see at the grocery store all the time. While those small packets are undoubtedly ideal for camping, building a bomb bunker, or storing emergency storm supplies, I believe normal weeknights require something more.
Better, but not more difficult. This pasta comes together in just 25 minutes, is incredibly delicious and creamy, and is made with only a few basic ingredients. Simply sauté some chicken breast pieces with a little spice. Prepared basil pesto and cooked pasta should be added. That’s all there is to it. You’re finished! A quick and easy supper alternative that is usually well-received! Pasta is simple, affordable, and kid-friendly, so we eat it frequently in my house! You may make your own basil pesto or buy it from the supermarket.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe:
In a vivid pesto sauce, this creamy pasta bake mixes whole wheat spaghetti noodles, golden sautéed chicken, and bright, bursting cherry tomatoes. It’s substantial, satisfying, and cozy, just how a chicken pesto pasta bake should be. It’s also refreshingly new. The spaghetti is infused with a light and sunny basil pesto sauce. Cherry tomatoes and spinach provide additional vegetable servings. You could just add pesto to pasta and call it a day, but I think the combination of vegetables and herbs elevates the pasta right off your plate.
- Olive Oil
- Boneless skinless chicken breast
- Italian seasoning
- Ground black pepper
- Basil pesto
How To Make Chicken Pesto Pasta?
- Follow the package directions for cooking the pasta. Reserve 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining the pasta.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil for 2 minutes while the pasta cooks. Combine the chicken, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. To coat the chicken, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cook, tossing regularly, for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat in the skillet.
- To the pan with the chicken, add the cooked and drained pasta and pesto. Stir everything together thoroughly.
- If necessary, add some of the saved starchy cooking liquid to loosen the sauce.
Tips And Tricks:
- Cook your chicken in a single layer to get a golden brown crust. If the skillet becomes too crowded, the chicken may steam rather than sauté. If your pan isn’t large enough to hold everything at once, work in batches.
- You may make your own pesto or buy it from the supermarket, whichever you prefer. To save time, I frequently use store-bought pesto. Choose pesto from the refrigerator case rather than the shelf-stable variety.
- Any sort of short pasta, such as penne, rotini, rigatoni, or fusilli, will work.
- This meal is filling enough to eat on its own. If you’re searching for side dishes, make a simple green salad or garlic knots.
This meal is delicious on its own, but you may alter the flavors to suit your preferences.
- Substitute chicken thighs, grilled shrimp, white beans, or Italian sausage for the chicken breast.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, or bell peppers to the mix.
- Cheese: Instead of parmesan, substitute fresh mozzarella balls or grated fontina.
What Exactly Is Pesto Sauce?
Pesto is a bright green, creamy sauce that originated in Italy. Pesto is generally made with basil, nuts (commonly pine nuts), parmesan, garlic, and olive oil. The addition of pesto to the cream sauce enhances the taste tremendously. Whether you create or buy pesto, the leftovers may be used to make chicken pesto roll-ups or frozen portions for pesto pasta another day.
How To Make Pesto?
- In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts, 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese to make your own pesto for this dish.
- Pulse the ingredients until finely ground. Add 3 cups of fresh whole basil leaves, along with salt and pepper to taste, to the food processor.
- Start the food processor and gently add in 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until a smooth sauce emerges. If necessary, season with additional salt and pepper.
What Kind Of Pasta Should I Use?
I used penne pasta, but bowties or rotini would also work nicely. Because the pasta-to-broth ratio is so essential in one-pot pastas I can’t speak for gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or whole wheat pasta. They absorb broth differently than semolina pasta and may not work as well in this recipe.
What Pasta Works Best With Pesto?
The finest pesto pasta has some type of edge or roughness that allows the pesto to adhere to it. Penne, gemelli, and fusilli are all excellent pesto pasta options.
What Vegetables Can I Add To Pesto Pasta?
You may skip the asparagus entirely and the dish would still work fine; instead, try substituting with these nutritious veggies to make it a meal:
- Florets of Broccoli
- Peas with a Snap
- Green beans, blanched
- Peas, frozen (or add cooked peas at the end)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (added at the end)
This is a filling supper with chicken, pasta, and a creamy pesto sauce. On the side, I prefer to serve it with a simple garden salad. If I’m feeding a bigger group, I’ll also make a loaf of garlic bread.
- A piece of garlic or olive bread.
- A basic spinach salad or arugula salad with pine nuts as a side dish.
Is It Possible To Reheat Creamy Pasta?
When reheating a creamy sauce, the usual rule of thumb is LOW and SLOW. Warm the pasta over low heat, stirring often, or in the microwave in short bursts. If you overheat the cream, it will split and seem greasy. Before cooking, add a dash of water, milk, half & half, or cream to make the sauce creamier.
This flavorful chicken pesto spaghetti is a meal-prep savior. It also freezes well and makes a wonderful leftover.
- To keep. Store the baked chicken pesto pasta in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To heat up again. Warm leftovers in the oven at 350°F in a baking dish.
- To put a stop to. Individual pieces or big batches of this chicken pesto pasta may be frozen before or after baking. Put the required quantity in a freezer-safe storage container or zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- This is a fantastic way to use up leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Simply combine it with the spaghetti, cook through, and serve!
- The cream is entirely optional. The heavy cream provides smoothness to the sauce while also counteracting the pungent basil pesto taste. You can, however, eliminate the cream entirely. Either way, the spaghetti will be wonderful!
- Mix in the cheese. On top of the chicken pesto pasta, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- As a garnish, sprinkle with pine nuts. Because basil pesto is typically prepared with pine nuts, it’s only natural to use entire pine nuts as a pesto pasta topping if desired. I did, and they gave a fantastic taste boost!
- Mix in the vegetables. Tomatoes cooked in olive oil and garlic go well with chicken pesto pasta. Regular tomatoes (without being roasted first), sun-dried tomatoes, or mushrooms can also be used.
- Make it hot. If you want to make your spaghetti spicy, add red pepper flakes.
- The portion size. The recipe calls for 8 ounces of pasta, which yields 4 servings.
MORE DELICIOIUS RECIPES HERE:
- 1 pound chicken breast boneless and skinless
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 pound penne pasta
- 3/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1/3 cup pesto basil
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ADD-ONS ARE AVAILABLE AS OPTIONS.
- 3 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
Chicken breast should be cut into 1-inch chunks. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken in the skillet over medium heat until it is slightly browned on the outside.
Mince the garlic while the chicken is cooking. Cook for one minute more after adding the garlic to the pan with the chicken.
To the pan with the chicken and garlic, add the uncooked pasta and chicken broth. Stir to dissolve any browned pieces from the skillet's bottom. Cover the skillet with a cover and bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
When the broth reaches a full boil, give it a brief stir, return the cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the pasta to boil for 8 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. As the pasta simmers, stir it lightly every two minutes and replace the top immediately each time.
When the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, combine it with the milk, cream cheese (cut into pieces), and pesto. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cream cheese has completely melted into the sauce. Finally, whisk in the grated Parmesan until well blended.
Add the fresh spinach and sliced sun dried tomatoes if using. Remove the pasta from the heat after the spinach has wilted. Serve the spaghetti topped with freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
TO Make Ahead: Assemble the entire chicken pesto pasta ahead of time and store in the refrigerator unbaked for up to 1 day. Allow it to come to room temperature before baking, then bake as directed shortly before serving.
Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free spaghetti noodles.
Increase or decrease the amount of basil pesto. 1/4 cup pesto is used in this recipe. Feel free to add a few more tablespoons of pesto to taste.
Add more toppings if desired. Pine nuts that have been lightly roasted and freshly grated Parmesan cheese provide taste and texture.
Make use of excess vegetables. Add sliced fresh tomatoes, sliced cooked asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, or mushrooms if you wish to add extra veggies.
Spicy it up. If you want to make your spaghetti spicy, add red pepper flakes.
Season to taste. Even though basil pesto is naturally salty, taste the finished meal before serving and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.