Chicken Pesto Pasta
on Sep 13, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Nothing satisfies an Italian food craving like my Chicken Pesto Pasta. Enjoy the rich, vibrant flavor of pesto sauce paired with Italian spiced chicken and sharp parmesan cheese. This easy-to-make recipe is ready in under an hour and uses just a handful of ingredients.
Are you tired of preparing dinner on busy weeknights? Do you have picky eaters who just don’t seem to eat anything you eat? This quick and easy chicken pesto pasta just might be the answer to all of your problems!
Chicken Pesto Pasta
The juicy, flavorful chicken gives this basil flavored dish plenty of protein, making it a great option for nights when you need something quick and easy. The entire dish only takes about 35 minutes from start to finish. Looking to take your dish to the next level? Try grilling your chicken to get a beautiful sear or make your own pesto to add even more flavor to this dish.
- Penne Pasta—Or your favorite shape of pasta.
- Chicken Breast—Diced. Boneless thighs or breast tenderloin will also work.
- Salted Butter—To help cook the chicken.
- Italian Seasoning—Flavors the chicken with notes of oregano, garlic, onion, and thyme.
- Pesto Sauce—Giovanni Rana or your favorite brand.
- Parmesan Cheese—Bottled or freshly grated. Used to garnish the pasta.
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Cook the pasta until tender. Drain, return to the pot, and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken and Italian spice.
- Cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle.
- Add the chicken and pesto to the pot and stir to combine.
- Top with parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
The classic, vibrant taste of pesto can be largely attributed to the fresh basil. As the basil is pureed, it releases a rich, slightly sweet flavor. When paired with the sharpness of parmesan cheese and the vibrant flavor of fresh garlic, the basil creates a delicious flavor that will keep everyone coming back for more.
This delicious Italian dish goes great with a variety of sides. For some extra nutrients, try serving your pasta with a side of steamed broccoli or an air fryer vegetable mix. For some extra flavor, serve your dish with a side of French bread or homemade breadsticks.
Of course! If you do not have any Italian spice you can make your own by combining equal parts dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder (or minced onion), dried basil, and dried thyme. I like to combine one tablespoon of each ingredient and then store it in a small, airtight container. This seasoning mix also goes great on homemade garlic bread.
This delicious pasta does not often end up with any leftovers, but if you have some they can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply transfer any leftover pasta to an airtight container. When you are ready for your leftovers, transfer the pasta to a microwave-safe dish covered with a paper towel. Microwave the leftovers for 1 ½ minutes, or until warm all the way through.
How Do I Make My Own Pesto Sauce?
If you have some extra time on your hands, making your pesto sauce is an easy way to take your dish to the next level! Homemade pesto is full of rich flavor and is surprisingly simple to put together. To make your homemade pesto you will need:
- 3 cups of basil
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1 cup of pine nuts
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese.
Simply throw all of your ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree them until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. You can alter the taste of your pesto by using walnuts instead of pine nuts and replacing some of the basil with baby spinach.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Smaller pasta shapes like rotini and bowtie will make it easier to mix the pesto sauce into the noodles, but you can also use pastas like fettuccine or linguine if you would like.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese provides a sharper flavor compared to its bottled counterpart, It will also melt a little better than bottled cheese. However, you are more than welcome to use whatever you have on hand.
- If you are looking for a quick way to cut down on your prep time, you can use frozen chicken instead of freshly cooked chicken. Tyson makes some great grilled chicken strips that can be easily incorporated into this recipe.
If you’ve tried this Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe or any other recipe on Bless This Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
- 2 pounds diced chicken breast
- ¼ cup salted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cups pesto,, about 12 ounces
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. Return the pasta to the pot and set it aside.
- In a large pan or skillet, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the diced chicken and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken until no longer pink in the middle, stirring frequently.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked, add it to the pot of pasta along with the pesto sauce and stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!
- You can store this pasta in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat it in the microwave. To reheat, fill a microwave safe bowl with pasta and cover it with a paper plate or paper towel. Microwave the pasta for about 1 ½ minutes, or until heated all the way through.
- I like to use freshly grated parmesan cheese, but bottled parmesan cheese works great as well.
- In addition to penne pasta, you can use fettuccine, rotini, or bowtie pasta.
- If you don’t have homemade pesto to use, we like to use the Giovanni Rana pesto sauce, but you can use any brand you would like. Costco also sells a really good Kirkland Signature pesto in the refrigerated section of the store. It’s excellent.
My recipe for chicken pesto pasta is one that you will want to make time and time again. It is quick, easy and delcious.