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This creamy, cheesy Chicken Pesto Pasta is a fast and delicious dinner! Made with homemade or store bought pesto, heavy cream, shredded chicken thighs, pasta and topped with sun-dried tomatoes. Bonus points for using my amazing homemade pesto.
Why You’ll Love this Pasta!
If you love pesto, buckle your seat belts because I have a fabulous Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe that is to die for. It’s a fast dinner, especially on lazy summer nights or busy school nights that does not disappoint! Cook your pasta, drain, then heat up your sauce ingredients for about 5 minutes before tossing all together and serving. It seriously doesn’t get easier than this!
My Homemade Pesto Recipe
Try my Basil Pesto recipe for a flavorful, fresh and fast sauce for pasta or chicken! Made with fresh basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil…it’s my favorite thing ever. It’s a fast, uncooked, garlic-y, cheesy, basil-y sauce that is so, so versatile! Whether you’re grilling chicken or tossing it with pasta, this pesto is one you need in your life. I know my garden is overgrown with basil, so this is the perfect way to use it up.
How to Make Chicken Pesto Pasta
For full recipe details, including ingredients needed and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what to expect when making this recipe:
Cook the Pasta
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt liberally, pour in pasta and cook until al dente. I used trottole pasta, but any short-cut variety will do.
Reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid, drain pasta and set aside.
Make the Pesto Sauce
Return hot pot to medium low heat. Add heavy cream and pesto (homemade or store bought) to the pot, whisking to combine well.
Toss to Combine
Toss in the pasta, chicken, and sun dried tomatoes using the reserved cooking liquid as needed to this out the sauce and coat every noodle. Taste and add in salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with Optional Garnishes
Spoon into bowls and top with optional garnishes like fresh basil, roasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Storing + Make Ahead Directions
If you have leftovers, place in an airtight container with a good fitting lid within 2 hours of making it. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Any longer than that, the texture changes.
For making this dish ahead of time, simply assemble and store in the fridge until ready to serve, up to 4 days in advance.
FAQ’s About Chicken Pesto Pasta
This recipe is pretty decadent and heavy with the tomatoes brightening and lightening it up.
If you’d like to cut your calories, skip the heavy cream and add extra pasta water instead.
While I love using chicken thighs in this pasta because thigh meat is always juicy and tender, NOT having chicken thighs on hand isn’t a deal breaker for making this recipe. Here are some other options:
-Cut and brown up a boneless, skinless chicken breast
-Use a pre-made rotisserie chicken
-Brown 1/4-1/2 pound ground chicken or turkey to add in
-Try grilling a small steak, slicing and serving on top
-Or just omit all together and make this a vegetarian meal
Yes! Place in a freezer safe container with tight fitting lid. Pasta will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months! To thaw, allow to sit in the fridge overnight before reheating.
More Pesto Recipes You Will Love
- Pesto Stuffed Shells
- Baked Pesto Chicken & Rice Casserole
- Creamy Pesto Alfredo Chicken Pasta
- Vegetarian Pesto Quesadillas
So, there you have it, folks! A delicious meal done in no time that will please even the pickiest eaters! The creamy sauce with the basil and nutty flavors from the pesto, along with the cheese was out of this world delicious! And, because I already had the pesto made in the fridge, this whole meal was done in a snap.
If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star review! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound trottole pasta or other short cut pasta like rotini
- 1 cup prepared pesto
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup reserved hot pasta water
- 2 cups chicken thighs shredded, about 4 chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
- salt & pepper to taste
- toasted pine nuts
- grated parmesan
- fresh basil
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt liberally, pour in pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid, drain pasta and set aside.
- Return hot pot to medium low heat. Add heavy cream and pesto (homemade or store bought) to the pot, whisking to combine well.
- Toss in the pasta, chicken, and sun dried tomatoes using the reserved cooking liquid as needed to this out the sauce and coat every noodle. Taste and add in salt and pepper as needed.
- Garnish with toasted pine nuts, grated parmesan and fresh basil (optional) and serve.