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Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe is comforting, delicious and is perfect for busy weeknights. Juicy chicken cooked in luxurious pesto cream sauce and then tossed with any pasta you have on hand.

large pan with chicken pesto pasta

We are on role in re creating restaurant meals at home.

Busy weeknights calls for easy dinners that are can be with not much effort and yet satisfies the entire family. Pasta dishes are always a winner! They are cozy, comforting and satisfying.

Basil pesto mainly consists of basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. It is incredibly flavorful and adds an instant freshness to any recipe. Some of our favorite ways to use store bought basil pesto are Chicken Pesto Rice, Instant Pot Pesto Pasta, Pesto Toasts, Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad and Pesto Grilled Cheese.

This recipe is a delicious combination of cooked pasta, pesto cream sauce and cooked chicken. The pesto cream sauce is more like a pesto Alfredo sauce that is super flavorful, thick and creamy.

Creamy pesto chicken pasta is

Main ingredients

Pasta – I used penne pasta, but you can use any kind of pasta that you have on hand.

Basil pesto – I used store bought basil pesto from Costco. If you wanna make your own, then check out this highly rated recipe from Simplyrecipes.

Half and Half – An equal part of heavy cream and whole milk may be used instead.

Chicken Stock – I used 33% reduced sodium chicken stock. If you are using no sodium or regular sodium stock, then adjust salt accordingly.

Chicken – My favorite is always boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but boneless, skinless breasts may be used instead.

ingredients needed to make pasta

Method

Step-1: Cook cubed boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts in some olive oil, until almost cooked. Transfer to a bowl.

Step-2: Saute chopped onion and garlic in butter, until translucent. Saute all purpose flour for about a minute until the raw smell is gone. Stir in chicken stock, half & half, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until it comes to a boil and begins thickening.

Step-3 : Add cooked chicken (along with accumulated juices) and pesto. Stir well and let simmer for about 2 minutes, to thicken slightly. Stir in cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

Expert tips

Chicken stock – I used 33% reduced sodium chicken stock

Chicken – Boneless, skinless chicken breast can be used instead.

Cook chicken in a single layer so that it gets a golden brown crust. If you overcrowd the pan, the chicken may steam instead of saute (work in batches if you are using a smaller pan).

To cook pasta – Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt and stir pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente and drain.

Basil Pesto – I used store bought basil pesto from Costco.

Salt – Salt depends on the type of stock and pesto used.

Don’t skip red pepper flakes – It adds a wonderful kick to the pasta.

What type of pasta should I use? I used penne pasta, but any type of pasta you have on hand like bow tie, rotini, rigatoni or fusilli are great options.

How to make pesto?

I prefer to use store bought pesto for its connivence. However, if you have an abundance supply of fresh basil in your backyard then here is a quick recipe – Pulse 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts, 1 large garlic clove and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese in a food processor, until finely ground. Add about 3 cups of fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, close the food processor and turn it on. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup olive oil through the feed tube and run the processor until a smooth sauce forms.

cast iron pan with chicken pasta with pesto cream sauce

Variations

With tomatoes – Stir in halved cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes along with cooked pasta and parmesan cheese.

With roasted tomatoes – Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic. Spread them evenly in a small baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are collapsing and slightly charred. Toss along with cooked pasta.

Add asparagus – Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces and saute along with onion and garlic in the recipe. Finish off with halved cherry tomatoes along with pasta.

With vegetables – Stir sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus or green beans in the recipe.

Make it cheesy – Stir in grated mozzarella at the end for a cheesy pesto pasta.

Add spinach – Stir in baby spinach along with cooked chicken and pesto.

Make is meat free – Skip chicken (but we recommend using chicken stock)

Use leftover rotisserie chicken instead.

Use shrimp instead of chicken.

More comforting pasta recipes: Shrimp Alfredo Pasta, Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta, Creamy Instant Pot Pasta, Pasta Pizza, Thai Noodles, Penne alla Vodka, Alfredo Noodles, Instant Pot Spaghetti, Meatless Ziti, Mac and Cheese or Garlic Butter Noodles.

Serving suggestions:

This is delicious with a side of creamy tomato basil soup, garlic bread and roasted broccoli.

Other delicious pairing may include garlic knots, roasted green beans, vegan tomato soup, parmesan bread bites.

More weeknight chicken dishes: Air Fryer Wings, Hunan Chicken, Spicy Chicken Tacos, Ground Chicken Tacos, Air Fried ChIcken Nuggets, Baked Chicken Burger,Honey Sriracha Chicken, Instant Pot BBQ Chicken, Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan, Thai Chicken Fried Rice and Tandoori Chicken.

How to store leftovers? Refrigerate cooled pasta in sealed containers for up to 4 days. Warm up in the microwave until heated through (stir in additional grated parmesan before serving)

2 bowls with pesto chicken penne pasta

FAQs

Do I eat this pesto pasta warm or cold?

It is recommended to eat this pasta hot, warm or room temperature.

How many calories in a serving?

There is 935 calories in a serving of pasta.

Can I add other ingredients?

Absolutely! Sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, fresh halved cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, leftover rotisserie chicken or shrimp are all delicious additions.

More Chicken Pasta Recipes

Spicy Chicken Pasta

Chicken Vodka Sauce

Butter Chicken Pasta <— Indian style

Chicken Parmesan Pasta <—– Hugely popular

Chicken Alfredo

Baked Spaghetti and Meatball Cups <— Kid friendly

Instant Pot Pasta with Chicken Meat Sauce

Yield: 3 SERVINGS

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

bowls with pesto chicken pasta

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe is comforting, delicious and is perfect for busy weeknights. Juicy chicken cooked in luxurious pesto cream sauce and then tossed with any pasta you have on hand

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken in a single layer, season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until almost cooked. Transfer to a bowl,
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add butter, chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Stir in flour and saute for about a minute or until raw smell goes off.
  3. Add chicken stock, half & half, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix well, continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce comes to a gentle boil and has thickened slightly (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add cooked chicken (along with accumulated juices) and pesto. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes for the sauce to thicken. Stir in cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

Notes

Chicken stock - I used 33% reduced sodium chicken stock

Chicken - Boneless, skinless chicken breast can be used instead.

To cook pasta - Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt and stir pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente and drain.

Basil Pesto - I used store bought basil pesto from Costco.

Salt - Salt depends on the type of stock and pesto used.

Don't skip red pepper flakes - It adds a wonderful kick to the pasta.

What type of pasta should I use? I used penne pasta, but any type of pasta you have on hand like bow tie, rotini, rigatoni or fusilli are great options.

Variations

With tomatoes – Stir in halved cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes along with cooked pasta and parmesan cheese.

With roasted tomatoes – Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic. Spread them evenly in a small baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are collapsing and slightly charred. Toss along with cooked pasta.

Add asparagus – Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces and saute along with onion and garlic in the recipe. Finish off with halved cherry tomatoes along with pasta.

With vegetables – Stir sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus or green beans in the recipe.

Make it cheesy – Stir in grated mozzarella at the end for a cheesy pesto pasta.

Add spinach – Stir in baby spinach along with cooked chicken and pesto.

Make is meat free – Skip chicken (but we recommend using chicken stock)

Use leftover rotisserie chicken instead.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

3

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 935Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 235mgSodium: 1149mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 50g

I am not a certified dietician or nutritionist. The information is a product of online calculator such as Nutrifox.com, although Kitchen at Hoskins attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their fact algorithms. Under no circumstances will Kitchen at Hoskins be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the nutritional information. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health and ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate.

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