It’s a good thing this pesto chicken pasta was outrageously delicious because I almost burned the house down while making it. I cooked the pasta, and then realized I was missing an ingredient for another dish I’d be making that afternoon. So I turned off the stove and ran to the store. Two stores in fact.
30 minutes later. . .
I pulled into the garage, put the car in park, and was just glancing over my grocery receipt when – wait, what is that smell?? Is smells terrible. Like, something’s burning. Ohmygoshthepasta! I ran in the house to find that the stove was still on, all of the water had boiled out of the pot, and my beloved penne noodles were ON FIRE. Yes, a real live flame was crackling in the middle of the pot and you wouldn’t believe how much smoke there was in the house. I turned off the stove, threw the pot in the sink and turned the faucet on full-blast cold water.
I ran around the house opening every single window and door I could find. I grabbed a towel and began waving it around like a lunatic trying to get the darn smoke detector in the kitchen to shut up. When it wouldn’t, I detached it and ran it out to the back deck.
That’s when the one down the hall started going off.
I detached the smoke detector in the hall, ran it out to the deck and wouldn’t ya know it, the one in the bedroom was going off. Heaven almighty. Once all of the smoke was gone and the flaming pot of pasta was under control, I sat down and took a deep breath – only to wish immediately afterwards that I hadn’t. Ah, that stench! My house smelled to high heaven of smoke. As if we lit a bonfire inside. Except that we didn’t. My hair, my clothes, the walls. That smells sticks.
I soaked lemons in vinegar in the hallway and in the kitchen and my husband scrubbed everything in the upstairs with pinesol but I can still detect a bit of that dreadful smoke-smell. It’s been a few days now and I’m just thankful it’s been warming up around here because we’ve had every window open for three days. I’d be a human popsicle by now if it were still snowing.
I gave up that day on making any pasta, but the next day I went for round two. Don’t worry, there were no flames this time. the pasta you see in these pictures was cooked perfectly without a single scorch mark. The second time around, this pasta was painstakingly easy. No fuss, done in less than 30 minutes, and my husband is already begging me to make it again. I’m not complaining – I am in love with this Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta. I’d light my kitchen on fire a million more times to have this pasta.
(Thankfully that won’t be necessary. I learned my lesson about making sure the stove is turned completely off. )
- 12 ounces penne noodles, cooked al dente according to package instructions, drained and patted dry
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ½ inch thickness
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup of homemade basil pesto OR 1 small jar of store-bought pesto
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups half and half or heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Spray a large pan or skillet with cooking spray. Season both sides of chicken breasts with Italian seasoning and cook over medium-high heat 4-6 minutes on each side until juices run clear and completely cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and slice into strips or cut into bite size pieces.
- In the same pan where you cooked the chicken, melt butter. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add flour and stir until a ball forms. Gradually whisk in half and half (or heavy cream) until mixture is smooth. Whisk in pesto. Continue to stir until mixture thickens.
- Pour creamy pesto sauce over noodles and top with chicken and remaining optional ingredients OR add noodles, sauce, chicken and optional ingredients to a large bowl and toss together. Serve warm. Enjoy!