This dreamy Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is made in snap on the stovetop turning it into a perfect 30 minute meal any day of the week. The pesto coated chicken pieces and simple decadent sauce can be prepared while the pasta is cooking and then combined just before serving. Add strips of roasted red peppers and chiffonade of fresh basil for added flavor and a punch of flavor then serve, it's simple as that.
Italian Inspired Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
Italian inspired dishes are always a hot favorite and my boys come running when they're on the menu. Be it spaghetti with meat sauce, slow cooked lasagna, saucy chicken Parmesan or stuffed shells it always seems to be a welcome sight. I love Italian flavors too, and many seasonings used in Italian cooking actually become more robust when a dish is made in advance. This simple fact makes them great for make-ahead easy meal prep, too.
Pesto Chicken for Busy Day Meals
- If you're cooking for more people and need extra servings, the sauce easily doubles.
- When making a large batch, add extra chicken pieces to match the amount of servings needed and you'll be good to go.
- Pair this chicken pasta skillet with a grilled vegetable salad or roasted panko parmesan roasted broccoli and a basket of buttery Parmesan cheese coated pull part garlic rolls, and it's time to eat.
- You may also like this recipe for Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches from Chelsea's Messy Apron.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- 5 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tsp garlic salt divided
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 4 Tbsp prepared basil pesto divided
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 8 oz container chive and onion cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 Tbsp divided
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 5 oz jar roasted red bell pepper, drained thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- 16 oz cooked pasta for serving i.e. fettuccine, angel hair pasta, spaghetti
- Season the chicken breasts with ½ tsp salt and black pepper on all sides. Rub with 2 Tbsp basil pesto. (If preparing in advance, place into a plastic storage bag and into the fridge)
- To prepare: Drizzle a large skillet with a couple of drizzles of olive oil. Over medium-high heat, brown the chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side. (Adjust depending on thickness) Remove from the skillet to a platter and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
- To the skillet add the half and half, cream cheese, ⅓ cup Parmesan. 2 Tbsp pesto. ½ tsp garlic salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to a simmer then immediately lower the heat and allow to bubble gently. Stir until the cream cheese is completely melted. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Add the sliced red peppers and chicken to the pan.
- Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until heated through and the chicken juices run clear.
- Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan and ribbons of fresh basil, if desired.
- Serve over hot fettuccine or your favorite pasta.