Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe

It's hard to beat the flavor of creamy pesto pasta in terms of filling and comforting foods. One way, though, is to add cooked chicken and chopped tomatoes to the dish — now you've got yourself a whole meal that's sure to satisfy. And one that takes all of 25 minutes to cook, and that's including the 5 minutes of prep work. Chef and recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating has come up with a delightfully simple and delightfully tasty creamy pesto pasta recipe that will have everyone at the table clamoring for seconds. 

Pay close attention to your ingredient portions here, as the recipe as laid out serves three. Doubling everything may be a good idea! Serving this tasty pasta dish as lunch or dinner, and ideally with a crisp green salad on the side? Now that's a great idea. "You can't beat pesto pasta," Brookes says, and after having a taste of this recipe, you'll be inclined to agree.

Gather your ingredients for creamy pesto pasta

To make this tasty dish, you'll need fusilli pasta (or your preferred pasta type), olive oil, crushed cloves of garlic, cooked chicken pieces, heavy cream, green pesto, cherry tomatoes (halved), and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Cook the pasta and sauté the garlic

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta as per its package's instructions, then drain it once cooked. You should be able to handle much of the rest of the cooking while the noodles boil, but if they finish cooking well in advance, toss the pasta with a bit of oil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, then fry the garlic on a low-medium setting for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. "One small thing is to take care when cooking the garlic as it can burn easily," says Brookes. "So keep that heat low and cook for just a few minutes."

Heat the chicken, then add the pesto and cream

Add the chicken to the pan with the garlic and then turn the heat up a little. Fry for a few minutes to heat it through, stirring occasionally. Keep in mind that you should be working with already-cooked chicken here — so all you're doing in this step is heating it up. Once the chicken is heated up, add the cream and pesto and stir well to combine.

Combine the rest of the ingredients and toss to mix

Once the chicken is well coated in the cream and pesto, add the cooked pasta, the halved tomatoes, and the Parmesan cheese, and stir. Cook the dish for another 3 to 4 minutes over a low/medium heat, then transfer it to a serving bowl or right into shallow bowls.

Serve the creamy pesto pasta with optional (but advised!) fresh chopped basil and extra grated Parmesan cheese. And note the leftovers are short-lived on this one. "You can keep it for one day in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or just eat it cold," Brookes says.

Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
This creamy pesto pasta recipe comes together easily and is loaded with flavor — it's perfect for a summer side dish.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
3
Servings
bowls of pasta and chicken and veggies
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 7 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 ounces cooked chicken pieces
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup green pesto
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Boil and drain the pasta as per the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic on a low-medium setting for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the chicken, turn the heat up a little, and fry for a few minutes to cook it through.
  4. Add the cream and pesto and stir well to combine.
  5. Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese, and stir. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Serve the creamy pesto pasta optionally with fresh chopped basil and extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 768
Total Fat 46.3 g
Saturated Fat 19.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 140.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
Total Sugars 5.0 g
Sodium 553.3 mg
Protein 30.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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