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 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 making them great for easy meal prep, too. This creamy pesto chicken is one that is terrific for busy day meals, as it truly come together quickly. The simple sauce thickens in the skillet then it's tossed with hot pasta just before serving. If you're cooking for more people and need extra servings, the sauce easily doubles and add extra chicken pieces and you'll be good to go. Pair it with a salad or roasted broccoli and a basket of garlic bread, and it's time to eat.
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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
- Olive oil
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 8-oz 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.