This could be the world’s easiest chicken pesto pasta recipe ever created. I take that back, this IS the world’s easiest pesto pasta recipe ever created. Pasta with fresh basil pesto has prevented me from starving to death on numerous occasions when I get home late from work and feel like doing nothing elaborate but need real, hearty FOOD fast.
Just imagine this for a moment. Linguine, grilled chicken, fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, homemade basil pesto, and sweet cherry tomatoes sautéed in olive oil. Dreamy.
Of course, this is a recipe I’ve been evolving and improving for a few years. It started as just linguine and jar pesto and greatly improved to fresh basil pesto, chicken, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
How to Make Homemade Pesto
Homemade pesto makes a huge difference in this recipe. It’s fresher, richer, and has more basil flavor. Also, it’s really simple to make in a food processor or blender (NutriBullet, Nija WHATEVER) and it’s much more fresh and flavorful than anything you can buy in the grocery store.
Pesto sauce consists of mostly basil and olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. You essentially lightly blend everything together until a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce is formed.
Sauté the chicken in a cast iron skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then stir in the cherry tomatoes, al dente linguine, and pesto sauce.
Bake topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and you have the most delicious, yet simple chicken pesto pasta dish you’ve ever made. Pro tip—use a cast iron skillet or oven safe pan for easy stove-top-to-oven transfer.
Plus, it will save you in the cleanup department too, because like everyone, I hate doing dishes with a fiery passion.Print
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced
- 1 8 ounce ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1 cup pesto
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Extra chopped basil as garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade basil pesto
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto
- Combine all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixed and smooth. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until combined. Pesto should not be too soupy or fine.
For the pesto chicken
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook pasta until al dente. Once the pasta is done, strain well and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the chicken into bite sized strips, season liberally with salt and pepper and cook through. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the strained pasta. Stir in one cup of pesto and toss until fully coated. Top with fresh mozzarella and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. Serve immediately.