What Is Pesto Chicken Made Of
Tender, juicy pesto chicken is made by marinating the chicken in basil pesto. Then sautÃ© it in olive oil and create a white wine cream sauce with more pesto, garlic, Italian seasoning, heavy cream, and balsamic vinegar. The end result is a perfectly juicy chicken breast nestled in a pesto cream sauce for a delicious dinner that everyone will love!
Why Youll Love This Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Filling and delicious. This pasta is packed with flavor and nutrients and will leave you feeling satisfied.
- Quick and easy. This meal comes together in less than 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
- Great for leftovers. If you have leftover chicken, this is a great way to use it up. Also, the pasta itself makes great leftovers and can be taken to lunch or even eaten on a different night!
- Kid-friendly. Get your kids to eat fresh herbs with this kid-friendly pasta dish.
Pesto Chicken And Broccoli Pasta
Creamy chicken broccoli pasta with the addition of pesto and parmesan takes this humble dish to a whole new level. This easy dish comes together in under 30 minutes and makes a great weeknight dinner!
When I think comfort food the first thing that pops in mind is pasta. Pasta is the ultimate comfort food. Its hearty, easy to make, and is always perfect for dinner.
This pesto chicken and broccoli dinner is a jazzed-up version of my favorite creamy chicken and broccoli pasta. Its loaded with garlic, parmesan, pesto, and chicken + broccoli.
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How And How Long To Keep The Pesto Chicken Pasta Leftovers
If your family doesnt lick the pan clean by the time dinner is over, this chicken pasta recipe reheats very well for lunch the next day! This pesto chicken pasta keeps very well in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. You can reheat on the stove or in the microwave, its up to you! Add a few drops of water when reheating to loosen the sauce and add additional grated parmesan and freshly diced tomatoes if you like.
Tips For The Perfect Pasta
- Be sure to cook your chicken in a single layer so that it gets a golden brown crust. If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken may steam instead of saute. Its best to work in batches if your pan is not large enough to fit everything at once.
- You can use homemade or store bought pesto, whichever you prefer. I often use store bought pesto to save on time. Be sure to choose pesto from the refrigerator case rather than the shelf stable type.
- Any type of short pasta will work including penne, rotini, rigatoni or fusilli.
- This dish is hearty enough to serve on its own. If youre looking for side dishes, try a simple green salad or a batch of garlic knots.
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Ingredients To Make Pesto Pasta With Grilled Chicken
- Spaghetti: If youre not a fan of white pasta, you can use wheat, gluten-free, or a veggie mix.
- Pesto: I have my own recipe for pesto that I prefer to use for this recipe, but you can use any pesto you have on hand.
- Parmesan cheese: Because everything is better with cheese.
- Butter: The butter adds a richness to the pesto and helps bring everything together.
- Grilled chicken: Seasoned and grilled to perfection. You could also use rotisserie chicken if youre short on time.
- Seasoning: A sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika is all you need to season the chicken.
- Lemon: The lemon juice adds a finishing pop of brightness to the pasta and chicken.
- Olive oil: Keeps the chicken from sticking to the grill pan or grill.
Recipe Tips And Notes
- Double Batch: This one pot chicken pesto pasta can be easily doubled if you have a large family or are cooking for a crowd.
- Pesto: Use your favorite homemade pesto in place of jarred pesto in this pasta recipe.
- Tomatoes: Grape, cherry, or roma tomatoes are all delicious choices. Use what you have on hand!
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Cooking Tips And Recipe Notes
- This is a great recipe to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken. Just throw it together with the pasta, heat it through, and serve!
- The cream is optional. The heavy cream adds creaminess to the sauce and also balances out the basil pesto flavor which can be quite strong. However, you can omit the cream altogether. Either version of the pasta will be delicious!
- Add cheese. You can add freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top of chicken pesto pasta.
- Add pine nuts as a topping. Since basil pesto is usually made with pine nuts, it’s only logical to use whole pine nuts as topping for the pesto pasta, if you wish. I did, and they added an amazing extra flavor touch!
- Add veggies. Tomatoes roasted in olive oil and garlic are a great addition to chicken pesto pasta. You can also use regular tomatoes , sun-dried tomatoes, or mushrooms.
- Make it spicy. Add red pepper flakes if you would like to make your pasta spicy.
- Serving size. The recipe uses 8 ounces of pasta which makes a total of 4 servings.
What Type Of Pasta Should I Use
I used penne pasta, but bowties or rotini would also work well. Because this pasta to broth ratio is very important in one pot pastas I cant vouch for alternative pastas like gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or even whole wheat pasta. They absorb broth differently than semolina pasta and may not work the same in this recipe.
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One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
Is there anything better than a one pot chicken dinner on a busy weeknight? I dont think so! When life gets crazy, I often turn to recipes like this chicken pesto pasta made all in one pot with real, fresh, and flavorful ingredients.
Pesto, cherry tomatoes, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese come together to create a magical sauce that pairs perfectly with pasta noodles and quick-cooking chicken. Ready in just 40 minutes, this is a chicken dinner winner!
How To Make Creamy Chicken Pasta With Pesto
This dish is super easy to make and comes together in just a few minutes. The chicken is first cooked in browned garlic and onions then the parmesan, pesto, and cream are added.
Aldente pasta and broccoli is then added to this delicious mixture of creamy heaven and the result is the BEST most FLAVORFUL pesto pasta you will ever have. I used penne but you can use any pasta you have on hand.
Lastly, Add the broccoli to the pasta while its cook just a minute before draining in.
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Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
Use up leftover roast , or buy a barbecued chicken from the supermarket, and turn it into this super easy pasta dish.
- 1 1/2 cups skinless shredded
- 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Thinly sliced green onions, to serve
- Crusty bread, to serve
- Step 2 Return pasta to pan over medium-low heat. Add reserved liquid, cream , pesto , onion , chicken ) and tomato . Stir to combine. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
- Divide between bowls. Top with parmesan and onion . Serve with bread .
Did you make this?
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Use chicken thighs instead of breasts. If you prefer dark meat, you can use chicken thighs instead of breasts. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Add vegetables. You can easily add veggies to this dish to make it even more nutritious. Try adding some sautéed mushrooms, grilled zucchini, or roasted red peppers.
- Make it vegan/dairy-free. To make this dish vegan or dairy-free, simply omit the Parmesan cheese from the pesto. You can also use a vegan pesto recipe.
- Use any pasta you have on hand. If you dont have spaghetti, no problem! A box of elbow macaroni, fusilli, or even penne would work just fine.
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Chicken Pesto Pasta Flavor Variations
This dish is fabulous as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Protein: Swap out the chicken breast for chicken thighs, grilled shrimp, white beans or Italian sausage.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other veggies to the mix such as sauteed zucchini, mushrooms or bell peppers.
- Cheese: Instead of parmesan, try a different type of cheese such as fresh mozzarella balls or grated fontina.
Once you try this chicken pesto pasta, youll find yourself making it on a regular basis its just that good!
Ingredients For The Tortellini Recipe
- frozen cheese tortellini
The taste will be slightly different with each option. But, it works quite well. Experiment until you find your favorite.
Should I use fresh or frozen tortellini?
You can use either fresh or frozen tortellini. I use frozen cheese tortellini for this tortellini recipe. But, if you want to use fresh pasta, it will work just as well.
Or, if you have time, you can make it from scratch.
There are also other types of tortellini you can try. While cheese tortellini is the most common , you can also use spinach and cheese tortellini, or even mushroom tortellini.
If you want a slightly different shape, consider cappelletti. Just look in the frozen section at the grocery store to see what types of frozen pasta are available in your area.
Or, if you just dont want tortellini at all, you can use your favorite type of pasta. Penne would work well in this recipe.
And, while the taste will be slightly different, I am sure it will still be delicious.
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How To Reheat Creamy Pasta
Creamy pastas need to be reheated slowly over very low heat. When the sauce gets too hot, it breaks . This means that instead of a smooth creamy sauce, you end up with pasta sauce that has a grainy consistency sitting in a small puddle of oil. Although the taste doesnt suffer as much, the texture definitely does.
I suggest that if you reheat the pasta in the microwave, you do it in small intervals at 50% power. Gently toss the pasta after each interval.
If reheating in a skillet on the stovetop, use very low heat and stir often. You may want to add a bit of broth or milk to make the pasta creamy again.
Serving Suggestions And Variations
With chicken, pasta, and a creamy pesto sauce, this is a pretty heavy meal. I like to serve it with a simple garden salad on the side. If Im feeding a larger crowd, Ill whip up a loaf of garlic bread, too.
Another option is to add some veggies to the pasta. Fresh spinach, kale, or sun-dried tomatoes could simply be added and simmered with the sauce. Or sauteed broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes would all be fantastic.
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Tips For Making Pesto Chicken Pasta With No Cream
Tips For Success With One Pot Pastas
One pot pastas can be tricky for some because the pasta is cooked in a much smaller amount of liquid than traditional pasta cooking methods. Here are a few tips to make sure your one pot pasta cooks evenly and to the right texture:
- Make sure youre using quality cookware. Use cookware that is thick, heavy, and transfers heat evenly. Thin cookware will leave some pasta overcooked and some pasta undercooked.
- Use a burner that is close in size to your cookware. This will help the pot heat evenly and cook the pasta evenly.
- Make sure the broth maintains a strong simmer throughout the cooking time. If its not simmering, the pasta will become mushy.
- Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and make sure the pasta cooks evenly.
- Keep the pot covered to trap steam, which will help cook the pasta.
Love one pot chicken pasta recipes? Check out my One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta or One Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta!
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Love one pot pasta? Check out my One Pot Meals category for more!
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Why Youll Love Chicken With Pesto And Pasta
- This is a perfect comfort food meal.
- Fresh basil really brightens all the ingredients.
- The pasta soaks up all the flavors from the sauce.
- Learning to make homemade pesto will be addicting and youll want to find more ways to enjoy it.
The slightly salty flavor from the prosciutto, combined with the pesto makes the sauce out of this world, and the crunchy pine nuts are a great addition. Since its made with cream, its a rich sauce so a little goes a long way.
The last time I made this, my dinner companions suggested I take a photo of my empty plate to demonstrate how good this really was. I would not hesitate to serve this for a dinner party.
How To Make Pesto
To make your own pesto for this recipe, place 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts in a food processor along with 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Pulse the ingredients until finely ground. Add 3 cups of fresh whole basil leaves to the food processor along with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend until a smooth sauce forms. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
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Tips For The Chicken Pasta Recipe
This pesto chicken pasta recipe is just the kind of weeknight dinner thats sure to become a new favorite. Here are a few tips to make the best pesto chicken pasta dish ever!
- To prevent cooked tagliatelle pasta from sticking together, wait until the water is at a full, rapid boil before adding the pasta. Then stir the pasta as it cooks, aim for stirring every 2-3 minutes. Also, use a burner that is close in size to your cookware. This will help the pot heat evenly and cook the pasta evenly.
- Use good quality parmesan, from a real block of parmesan that you grate yourself. Not the cheap white powdered stuff you can find in some grocery aisles!
- Feel free to double the quantities for the sauce and adjust to your liking when tossing with pasta and chicken.
What To Serve With Chicken Pesto Pasta
I know youre going to love this healthy chicken pesto pasta recipe as much as my pals and I did. Its comfort food at its freshest and finest!
Looking for more fresh, healthy pasta recipes that are great for parties? Try my Skillet Lasagna with Basil, Italian Sausage, and Butternut Squash or my favorite healthy Turkey Bolognese.
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Why Youll Love This Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe
- Flavor: The combination of half and half , pesto and Parmesan cheese makes the most dreamy and creamy pesto sauce.
- Easy Recipe: This pasta recipe is made with simple ingredients in 30 minutes. The perfect meal for busy weeknights.
- Customizable: There are many ways to customize this recipe. Instead of chicken, you can use Italian sausage. Add fresh tomatoes or red pepper flakes to add some heat!
How Do You Make This Creamy Pesto Chicken Recipe
Pesto chicken has a couple of steps, but some you can do in advance so that you can just finish it off for your guests.
- Step 1: Marinate the chicken in a mixture of egg whites, pesto and oregano for about 30 minutes. Toast the pine nuts.
- Step 2: Dredge the chicken in a little flour and cook it in a skillet with butter and olive oil. Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Step 3: In the same skillet, cook some shallots and garlic and add prosciutto, pine nuts, and parsley.
- Cook for a bit and then add cream, more pesto and parmesan. Add the chicken back to the skillet.
- Step 4: Cook the pasta, drain and add some pesto to the pasta.
- Step 5: Serve the chicken over the pasta and drizzle the sauce over the top..
Pro tip: You can do steps 1 and 2 in advance and then start with step 3 about 15 minutes before youre ready to eat.
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Chicken With Pesto And Pasta
Need to up your chicken game, try this chicken with pesto and pasta, with a homemade creamy sauce enhanced with prosciutto. Extra pesto coats the pasta for a show stopper dinner for friends or family.
I love the fresh flavor that pesto adds to any dish. Add some prosciutto and cream to this chicken with pesto and pasta and you have an amazing sauce to serve over super tender chicken breasts. Prosciutto transforms the sauce from good to amazing.
But dont stop there, coat the pasta with even more pesto for a dinner special enough to serve for friends and one your family will be asking for again and again.
Homemade pesto is great if you cant get your hands on fresh basil. Since I only have fresh basil for a couple of months, I end up having to purchase pesto in the colder months to use for this dish. You can find pesto in the refrigerated section of some groceries. It also comes in a jar.
Pro tip: Did you know you can freeze pesto. If you just want small portions, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, remove to a resealable freezer bag. For larger portions, place in a resealable bag and add a thin layer of olive oil to the top to prevent it from turning brown
I think what makes this dish so amazing is the prosciutto. When I have time, Ill stop at the Italian market to get it along with some fresh pasta and parmesan. If not, this is still fantastic if you use what you can find at the grocery, but fresh is always better.