This could be the world’s easiest chicken pesto pasta recipe ever created. I take that back, this IS the world’s easiest chicken pesto pasta recipe ever created. Pesto pasta 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.
This is a recipe I’ve been making and improving for a few years. It started as just linguine and jar pesto and evolved into fresh pesto, chicken, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
You can substitute store-bought basil pesto, but homemade pesto makes a huge difference. It’s fresher, creamier, and has more basil flavor. Also, it’s really simple to make in a blender or food processor. If you plan your weekly meals ahead of time, you can make your pesto a few days before and keep in the fridge for quick access on weeknights.
Sauté the chicken in a cast iron skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then stir in the cherry tomatoes, pesto sauce, and al dente linguine. Bake topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and you have the most delicious, yet simple pesto pasta chicken dish you’ve ever made. Pro tip—using a cast iron skillet for easy stove top to oven transfer will save you in the cleanup department too, because like everyone, I hate doing dishes with a fiery passion.
- 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
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ 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.