You can’t go wrong with a bowl of pesto chicken pasta for dinner! This chicken pesto pasta is ready in under 30 minutes and is packed fresh flavors!
We are all about healthy chicken breast recipes here on FFF. If you have extra chicken breasts laying around after this recipe, try one of these 18 Sous Vide chicken breast with one of these 6 easy chicken marinades.
Everything You Need
Everything you need for this chicken pesto pasta recipe is probably in your pantry or refrigerator right now! Here is everything you’ll need.
- Penne pasta
- Olive oil
- Chicken breast
- Italian seasoning
- Yellow onion
- Chicken broth
- Cherry tomatoes
- Starchy water
- Ground pepper
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta
There is nothing better than a big bowl of hot pesto pasta! It is not as complicated as you think. With all the right ingredients, you will be ready to make this pasta in no time! Let’s break it down.
Make the Pesto
We have a classic and simple homemade pesto recipe on Fit Foodie and that is what we use when we mix up a tasty pesto recipe! You really just throw everything in a blender or food processor and let it go!
Feel free to make this pesto your own by throwing in a handful of different nuts! I love adding pistachios or some walnuts, too! The beauty of pesto is that it is made with simple ingredients and you can’t really screw it up.
freeze your pesto
Make a big batch of pesto at the end of the summer with fresh basil!
Pour the pesto into ice cube trays and then transfer those cubes into a large airtight container in the freezer.
From there you can use a couple of cubes whenever you need pesto!
Prep All the Ingredients
After prepping the pesto, it’s time to prep your ingredients. I like to prep things in phases. Pesto is done so you are done with that until later.
Next up is boiling the noodles! Feel free to use any noodle that you like! We chose a whole wheat penne, but white pasta would work too. The most important thing when boiling your pasta is to make sure you add salt to the water before adding the pasta!
It doesn’t have to be a ton of salt, but just a pinch or two of salt in the water will add a little extra flavor to the whole dish, which will really show when the dish is done!
Right before the pasta is ready, remove about a 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water for the sauce and then remove the pasta from heat and strain the water and set it aside for a moment.
Chop up the chicken and veggies and get ready to saute!
Sauce It Up
There are a couple of different steps to this pasta sauce. Begin by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Then add the olive oil to the pan. When the olive oil is fragrant, add chicken and Italian seasoning.
I always make sure to season in layers when it comes to pasta dishes. Seasoning the chicken will give this pasta an extra punch of flavor at the end. And? You’ll end up using less salt if you salt a little bit throughout the cooking process.
After chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and then add the onions. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the garlic.
When garlic is fragrant add the chicken broth.
Why do we use chicken broth?
We use chicken broth to add a base for the pesto pasta! Once the broth has reduced by half add the tomatoes.
Let the tomatoes cook down for a couple of minutes and then lastly (and FINALLY) add a couple of tablespoons of starchy water and pesto to the pan.
Whisk everything together until it creates a sauce. If you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan, there should be a film on the bottom of the pan! That means you’re ready to add the chicken and pasta to the pan!
Make sure all ingredients are covered in pesto and nice and HOT!
Serve It Up
BOOM. You’ve got yourself a big batch of pesto chicken pasta. Top the pesto chicken pasta with fresh parmesan and fresh basil.
Serving this dish at a dinner party?
Serve this pasta in a large bowl and serve it family-style with delicious warm, crunchy bread and a bottle of red wine. You just can’t go wrong!
- 8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
- 1/8–1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch chunks)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 tablespoons starchy water
- 6 tablespoons pesto, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- toppings: fresh basil and parmesan cheese
- First, fill a large pot about 3/4 of the way full of water and add about 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil.
- Add pasta and let the pasta cook for about 7-9 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove about a 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water and set it aside for later.
- Strain the water from the pasta and set it aside for later.
- Next, heat a large skillet pan over medium/high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan once it’s hot.
- When olive oil is fragrant, add chicken and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken for about 4-6 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove from the pan.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and then add the onions. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Next, add the garlic to the onions. When garlic is fragrant add the chicken broth to the pan.
- Cook mixture for 3-4 minutes until the broth reduces to half and then addd cherry tomatoes and let them cook for 2 minutes.
- Finally, add starchy water and pesto to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lastly, add cooked chicken and pasta to the pan. Mix until all ingredients are covered with pesto sauce.
- Season with ground pepper and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
Nutrition FactsServing Size: 1/6 Calories: 311 Sugar: 1 Fat: 18 Carbohydrates: 11 Fiber: 2 Protein: 1
Keywords: pesto chicken pasta