Last updated on August 23rd, 2018 at 06:50 am
This Chicken Pesto Pasta is loaded with juicy tender chicken smothered in a delicious Creamy Pesto Parmesan Sauce. This easy Chicken Pesto Pasta is guaranteed to become a family favorite!
This easy to make Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe can be on your dinner table in about 30 minutes – making this pasta dinner perfect for busy weeknights. The silky and creamy pesto sauce is so delicious, you will feel like you are having a meal at a fancy restaurant, making this a great dish to serve to dinner guests.
I think pasta is the ultimate comfort food! Especially pasta smothered in hearty, rich, incredibly flavorful and totally addicting Creamy Parmesan Pesto Sauce. Trust me it is hard not to eat the whole pot by myself!
What is Pesto?
Pesto is an incredibly tasty Italian sauce made from fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Pesto is usually served over pasta although, the vibrant sauce is so versatile you can put it on pizzas, grilled meats, sandwiches and even soups.
To make this pesto pasta a super quick meal, I use store bought pesto. You can always make your own pesto at home, if you prefer.
How To Make Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Cook your pasta in salted water until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain the pasta.
- While cooking the pasta, season the chicken and toss it with 1 tablespoon of flour to coat.
- In a large skillet, cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the skillet.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter and saute the onions until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the broth to the skillet and deglaze it, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. This will remove the brown bits stuck on the bottom (that is pure flavor!)
- Add the pesto, Half and Half and garlic powder and simmer. The sauce will start to thicken a bit.
- Return the chicken and any collected juices to the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and mix well to combine.
- Add the pasta and toss gently. If you want a creamier consistency, add some of the cooking water and mix well.
- After adding the pesto and cheese, make sure the sauce doesn’t boil as it can become separated.
- Pasta dishes are best served immediately after mixing the sauce with the pasta. If you wait too long to serve, the pasta tends to dry up. Don’t worry! You can always make the pasta creamier again by adding some cooking water and mixing it gently.
- You can use any pasta shape you like. I like using penne pasta, rotini pasta and bowtie pasta.
- Serve this creamy pasta with this amazing Four Cheese Roasted Garlic Bread (from An Affair from the Heart) and a simple salad for the most perfect Italian style meal!
- If you need any other pasta dinner ideas, here are a few of our favorites
Cajun Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
Mac and Cheese Carbonara
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
Pumpkin Pasta with Italian Sausage (West Via Midwest)
Things You May Need
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Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces basil pesto
- 1/2 cup Half and Half
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces pasta *See notes
- Chopped basil for garnish (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Add the flour and toss to coat.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes or until browned, Add extra oil, if needed. Remove from the skillet and reserve.
- To the same skillet, add the butter and saute the onions for about 3 - 4 minutes or until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Deglaze the skillet by adding the chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. Bring to a boil. Stir in the pesto and lower the heat. Add the Half and Half and garlic powder. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
- Return the chicken and any collected juices to the skillet and toss to coat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and mix well.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss gently. Add some of the cooking water only if a creamier consistency is desired. Serve warm garnished with chopped basil (optional).
- Any short pasta like rigatoni, ziti, and penne work well.
- Creamy pastas should be served immediately to prevent them from getting dry. However, you can use some of the cooking water to make the pasta creamier again if it dries out.
- Nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary depending on the brand of ingredients you use.
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