This could be the world’s easiest chicken pesto pasta recipe ever created. Pasta with fresh basil pesto has prevented me from starving to death on numerous occasions when I was fresh out of college.
Just imagine this for a moment. Linguine, grilled chicken, freshly sliced mozzarella cheese, homemade basil pesto, and sweet cherry tomatoes sautéed in olive oil. Dreamy.
Fresh Basil Pesto
Homemade pesto is really easy to make and is so much better than store-bought. My basil pesto consists of fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Everything is blended together in a food processor to render a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a standard blender or single-serve blender instead. Just don’t blend too aggressively or it will turn into a creamy paste.
Sometimes small grocery stores or local farmer’s markets will have fresher locally made pesto that is usually better than brand-name pesto sauce. You can tell how fresh pesto is by how green it is. Old pesto will take on a duller and deeper dark green color.
How the Dish Is Made
What sets this recipe apart from the rest is the melted finish of mozzarella cheese. The final dish is baked to create a cheesy touch. Another reason to make this in a cast-iron skillet.
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 homemade pesto sauce. Bake topped with fresh mozzarella slices and you have the most delicious, yet simple chicken pesto pasta dish you’ve ever made.
Can I Make Pesto Creamy?
You can stir in some cream and some additional parmesan cheese to the pasta before baking if you’re looking for more of a creamy pasta dish.
As mentioned above, 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.
More Pesto Recipes You’ll Love
More Pesto Recipes You’ll Love
- Creamy pesto gnocchi with shrimp
- Chicken pesto pizza
- Chicken pesto panini
- Pesto pasta salad
- Pesto shrimp pasta
- Pesto shrimp skewers
- Pesto zucchini noodles
Chicken pesto pasta is my go-to pasta dish made with fresh homemade basil pesto and melted mozzarella cheese.
- 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
- 2 garlic cloves
- 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.
You can stir in 1/3 cup optional cream or heavy cream and some additional parmesan cheese to the pasta before baking if you’re looking for more of a creamier pasta dish.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 842
- Sugar: 1g
- Sodium: 524mg
- Fat: 52g
- Saturated Fat: 14.3g
- Carbohydrates: 44.1g
- Fiber: 0.9g
- Protein: 43.8g
- Cholesterol: 176mg
Keywords: Pesto chicken pasta, baked pasta