Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

February  4, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This is a simple but delicious dish that mixes pesto with Alfredo sauce. When you combine these two together, magic happens. The result is lighter, but nonetheless packed with nutty, herby flavors.
The addition of crispy seared chicken elevates this dish into something utterly satisfying.
Perfect for serving with shells or orecchiette. These pasta shapes are capable to catch so much sauce. —Anna Chwistek | Serving Dumplings

What You'll Need
  • 150 grams (5.3 oz) pasta, shells or orecchiette
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 30 grams (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 200 milliliters (3/4 cup) heavy cream, or half-and-half
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) grated Parmesan
  • salt + black pepper
  • toasted pine nuts, for serving
  • grated Parmesan, for serving
  • pesto
  • 40 grams (1.4 oz) basil
  • 40 grams (1.4 oz) toasted pine nuts
  • 80 milliliters (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan
  • salt + black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling generously salted water, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  2. Make the pesto. Combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending until the pesto is well blended but still has some texture.
  3. Add olive oil and half of the butter to a deep skillet or pan, melt over medium heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, cook until the chicken is browned and crispy on the outside, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  4. Add the remaining butter to the skillet. Add garlic, sauté for 2 minutes. Pour cream and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add pesto and cooked chicken. Season with extra black pepper. Toss in pasta and add Parmesan, stir until the cheese is melted. Add a splash of cooking water if needed. Remove the pasta from heat.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

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1 Review

Jlopez May 17, 2023
Taste sooo good! Before the pandemic, I used to order the pesto pasta from Portillo's and Barnelli's. They unfortunately discontinued the pasta after the pandemic, but this recipe is the closest thing to portillos pesto pasta! Very creamy and easy to make.