Requiring only a few simple ingredients, this stress-free Chicken Pesto Pasta features tender bites of juicy chicken and a creamy Pesto Sauce that cooks quickly in one pan! Add the penne pasta, fresh grape tomatoes, and shards of Parmesan cheese, toss it all together, and you’ve got your new favorite fix for weeknight Italian fare.
CHICKEN PESTO PASTA INGREDIENTS
- Pasta – Penne is a great option for Chicken Pesto Pasta because of its tubular shape and ability to trap sauce within the noodle. However, Rigatoni and Farfalle would work as well!
- Chicken – Chicken breasts cut up into 1″ pieces cook on the stovetop and make this a quick and easy pasta dish to assemble! If you’d rather use dark meat, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a fine substitute.
- Basil Pesto – You can either make Basil Pesto from scratch or use a store-bought rendition. You’ll likely find it in the international aisle with other imported Italian ingredients at your grocery store.
- Cream – A little heavy cream gives this Pesto Chicken Pasta its creamy vibes!
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes add a pop of freshness to this savory pasta dish. Grape tomatoes are a great choice as they tend to hold their shape when mixed with other ingredients and are superior in the flavor department, even in the off-season.
- Parmesan – You can either purchase a wedge of Parmesan or Parmesan shavings for your Chicken Pesto Pasta! If you are using the wedge, simply use a vegetable peeler to make your own Parmesan shavings!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PESTO PASTA
- Cook the Pasta – Be sure to add a generous pour of salt to your water before cooking the pasta! Then, cook according to package directions, strain, and set aside.
- Prep the Chicken – Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Using a very sharp knife, cut the chicken into 1″ slices across the grain. Next, cut the slices into 1″ chunks of chicken. Transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the Chicken – Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow it to heat through before adding the chicken. Once the pan and oil are both hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed on one side for about 2 minutes. Then, flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the heat and transfer to a plate.
- Make the Sauce – To make the sauce for the Chicken Pesto Pasta, reduce the heat and add the basil pesto along with cream, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
- Assemble and Serve! – Add the pasta, grape tomatoes, and Parmesan to the pan, toss to combine, serve and enjoy!
5 MORE ITALIAN DINNERS YOU’LL LOVE
- Chicken Marinara has all the flavor of Chicken Parmesan but requires only half of the prep work! It combines two Italian favorites: Marinara sauce and melty mozzarella cheese, and they come together to spruce up boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a baked dish everyone adores.
- Chicken Scallopini with Piccata Sauce is an Italian restaurant classic with thinly sliced, golden chicken cutlets drenched in a buttery lemon sauce with capers.
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders are baked with a crust of panko breadcrumbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese! This is a healthy, Italian take on chicken tenders! Don’t forget marinara sauce on the side for dipping!
- Shrimp and Pasta is a delicious angel hair pasta recipe with fresh tomatoes, capers, and shrimp cooked in a simple white wine butter sauce!
- Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs is loaded with homemade meatballs baked in the oven and topped off with a simple marinara sauce!
- 8 ounces (about half a package) penne pasta
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (separated)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, separated
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions, strain, and set aside until ready to use.
Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and slice into 1" strips, cutting against the grain. Then, cut into 1" pieces and transfer to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until evenly coated with seasoning and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. Add the chicken to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more, or until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add basil pesto, cream, 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and stir 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add the pasta, grape tomatoes, and Parmesan to the pan and stir once more. Serve and enjoy!