- Serves 6
- 30 minutes
- Difficulty Easy
- 12 Ingredients
If you’re after a Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe that has been tried, tested and tested again, this is it!
If your family is anything like ours Chicken Pesto Pasta is on the menu weekly! As long as I can remember, my kids have always loved pesto … of any kind.
Their favourite pesto is home made with fresh basil, olive oil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese with salt and pepper. Just whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor and it’s ready to go!
If we don’t have any basil growing or in the fridge, their next favourite pesto is store bought. The Jamie Oliver Pesto is a favourite. If that’s not available, Barilla make a pretty near perfect Pesto in our opinion.
What do we love about this Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe?
- It’s easy! Once you’ve made this recipe once, it will be on your forever list. It’s basically as easy as chop the chicken, cook it in a little olive oil, slather with pesto then stir through some freshly boiled pasta and top with grated fresh parmesan cheese.
- It’s tasty! Especially if your pesto has been freshly made. This recipe is bursting with flavour.
- It’s versatile! Add a little chilli or switch out the basil for baby spinach if you don’t like basil. And use whatever pasta you have in the cupboard – penne, spaghetti, fettucine or rigatoni.
Our tips when creating this Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe …
- If you are using chicken breast for this recipe, don’t overcook it. Gently fry just long enough to cook through then cover it over until you are ready to serve.
- Add the pesto just before serving. This will keep the pesto a beautiful bright green colour and keep the flavour sweet rather than bitter.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. We always aim to cook pasta until just al dente (still a little bite to it)
- Feel free to add extra green veges to the pasta to add a little more nutrition – finely slice snow peas and add at the last minute, stir through some green beans sliced diagonally to match the penne or add a cup of baby peas.
- Don’t forget to ‘up the veges’ and serve this with a lovely big salad full of seasonal ingredients.
Once you’ve tried this Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe, we’d love you to come back and give us your thoughts in the comments below.
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Ingredients (serves 6)
- 500 - 600g Chicken Thigh Fillets (or Chicken Breast)
- 1 cup Store bought Pesto (or see below for Pesto Recipe)
- 1 packet Penne Pasta
- Salt/Pepper To Taste
- 2 sprigs Fresh Basil, to garnish (if you have it)
- HOME MADE PESTO:
- 2 cups Fresh Basil leaves, removed from stalks
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated or shredded
- 1/2 cup Pine Nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
- Salt/Pepper To Taste
- 1 - 2 small cloves Fresh Garlic, peeled and crushed
- Fill a large stockpot with water, add a big pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Once the water is boiling, add the penne and stir immediately to ensure the pasta doesn't stick together. Cook until al dente stirring frequently so that the pasta doesn't stick together or to the bottom of the pot.
- While the pasta is boiling, roughly slice the chicken and lightly coat with a little salt and pepper. Heat a small amount of the olive oil in a non stick frypan and add the chicken. Fry gently until cooked through, turning occasionally. You may want to cook in a couple of batches to avoid 'stewing' the chicken.
- While the chicken is cooking add all the ingredients for the homemade pesto to a food processor and blitz until you reach the consistency you like. Some like their pesto chunky and others like it smooth. You choose!
- Once the pasta is cooked, pour into a colander and allow for drain for a minute. Then add the pasta, the chicken and 3/4 of the pesto back into the stockpot and gently mix together.
- To serve either plate into individual dishes or transfer to a large serving platter. Add small dollops of the remaining pesto and some fresh basil leaves as garnish. Top with a little extra parmesan and ENJOY!
If you're a Pesto fan, you might also like to try some of these recipes: