CREAMY CHICKEN PESTO PASTA — Pasta and tender chicken in a creamy, cheesy, basil pesto infused sauce are topped with mozzarella cheese in this hearty meal the whole family will love.
If I’ve learned one thing over the years of cooking for my family, it’s that I can’t go wrong with a comforting pasta dish for dinner, and this Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta totally fits the bill!
The Alfredo-style sauce in this recipe is paired with pesto and fresh basil, then combined with tender chunks of chicken and plenty of cheese!
Everything is broiled for a few minutes for a bubbly, golden brown topping that makes this dish even more irresistible.
And believe me, even your pickiest eaters will find this pasta dish hard to resist.
Even better, it all comes together in about 30 minutes, making it a perfect, easy meal for busy week nights.
Not only is this dish simple and delicious, it’s versatile too. You could easily switch up the chicken for smoked sausage. And there’s practically no end to the vegetables you could add.
I like to think of this recipe as just a starting point. There are so many things you can do to switch it up, including using different pasta and cheeses.
I usually opt for a hearty, tubular pasta like penne or rigatoni in this recipe, but I honestly don’t think there’s a pasta that wouldn’t work well in this dish.
This is also a great way to use up leftover chicken–although I usually opt for a rotisserie chicken to save time if there aren’t any leftovers available.
Feel free to take this dish and make it your own. Whatever you do, this pesto chicken pasta is sure to become a family favorite!
Be sure to save this Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
Tips for Cooking Pasta
Use a big pot: Cook pasta in a large pot–big enough to hold 6 quarts of water per pound of pasta.
Salt: Generously season your cooking water with salt. A few teaspoons per quart of water is a good place to start. Although a little more or less is fine, depending on your preference.
Don’t overcook: Boil your pasta to until it is al dente, which means it’s cooked, but still a bit chewy. You’ll want to test your pasta for flavor and texture every 20 seconds or so during the last few minutes of cooking.
If you’ll continue cooking the pasta in a sauce, or baking it in the oven, remove the pot from the heat a few minutes before it’s done to prevent overcooking.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Produce: garlic, fresh basil
- Chicken broth
- Half and Half
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
Pasta and tender chicken in a creamy, cheesy, basil pesto infused sauce are topped with mozzarella cheese in this hearty meal the whole family will love.
- 16 ounces dry pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain.
- While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour.
- Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, then stir in half and half.
- Add salt and pepper and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in pesto.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella until cheeses are melted and smooth.
- Stir the chopped basil, chicken, and cooked pasta into the sauce and mix well. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Preheat broiler. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased, 9x13 inch baking dish or large casserole. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 699Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 766mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 45g
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Who Dished It Up First: This is an original recipe
Hi, Danelle! Thanks for another yummy looking recipe. 1 question, though: how much cayenne and red pepper flakes. Both are mentioned in the instructions, but not listed in the ingredients. Thanks, Cheryl
I have no idea what I was doing there, since there isn’t any cayenne or red pepper flakes in this recipe! I removed that from the instructions. Thanks for noticing! (although I guess you could always add some if you wanted to). 🙂