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chicken pesto pasta served in ceramic bowl
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Chicken Pesto Pasta

For flavor packed weeknight dinner try this chicken pesto pasta! It’s full of flavors, fresh, quick and easy to make! Pasta is an emotion and this pesto pasta is truly a family favorite!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 883kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 14 oz or 450 grams spaghetti pasta, you can also use penne, fusilli or other pasta
  • ½ cup pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup fresh basil walnut pesto
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil EVOO
  • ½ cup fresh tomato diced (tomato salsa)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Try this homemade basil walnut pesto. It’s simple, easy to make and best for stirring in pasta.
  • Season chicken breast with salt, freshly ground pepper and Italian seasoning on both sides.
  • Heat EVOO in cast iron pan or a skillet. Cook seasoned chicken breasts in hot oil until seared golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Don’t overcook chicken, it’ll turn dry and rubbery.
  • Remove chicken from pan and let it rest for few minutes.
  • Slice chicken breasts into smaller pieces. Leave it aside.
  • Cook pasta is boiling water seasoned with generous amount of salt and little olive oil. Cook pasta as per packet instructions. Pasta should be cooked al-dente.
  • I recommend you transfer cooked pasta using tongs to a dry pot. No need to drain it. And definitely DO NOT RINSE the pasta.
    NOTE: Never stir in pesto sauce into the pasta on hot stove. It will turn black as basil leaves will begin to cook.
  • Pour pesto sauce over cooked pasta. Toss gently to coat pasta with pesto evenly.
  • The starchy pasta with it’s liquids helps the pesto sauce adhere and soak into the noodles. No need to add loads of olive oil to toss the pasta with pesto. Pasta cooking water (about ¼ to ½ cup or as required) can do the magic of making a creamy pesto pasta.
  • Add in seared chicken breasts cut into pieces.
  • Top it with fresh tomato salsa if you like, you can skip salsa if you don’t like it.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, few fresh basil leaves and toasted crushed walnuts.
  • Serve it as it is or stir chicken into the pasta and serve.
  • Best served immediately warm.

Video

Notes

  1. Highly recommend you make your own fresh homemade pesto sauce. It makes a world of difference in terms of freshness and taste.
  2. Though you can use any pasta for this recipe, consider choosing one of these – spaghetti noodles – bucatini, tagiatelle, linguine, angle hair, penne pasta, bow tie, rigatoni, fusilli, chickpea pasta (gluten-free pasta option), zucchini noodles (for healthier option).
  3. Always cook pasta in salted water and al-dente. Never overcook pasta.
  4. Do NOT drain and rinse pasta.
  5. Transfer cooked pasta using tongs to dry bowl or skillet before tossing it with pesto sauce. If you stir in pesto sauce on hot stove, it will turn black.
  6. Use pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce. You’ll have creamy pasta in pesto sauce.
  7. Add any protein (chicken, shrimp) of your choice to this pesto pasta or skip meat or seafood to keep it vegetarian.
  8. Always serve pasta with pesto sauce immediately, warm. As it sits on the counter it begins to turn black.
  9. Any leftovers should be store in proper air tight containers in the fridge. Do not reheat stored pasta. Simply bring the pasta to room temperature and serve.
 
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that nutritional information provided is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 883kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 822mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1471IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 3mg