This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is a no-muss, no-fuss, flavorful recipe that uses pantry staples and easy-to-find ingredients and cooks up in just 30 minutes!
If you love all things pasta like I do, then you’ll also want to try my recipes for Spicy Tomato Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Easy White Chicken Lasagne With Spinach, or this Baked Ziti With Ricotta and Sausage.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned how much I like to travel. I try to go somewhere, even if just for a little long weekend about once every five or six weeks or so. It’s not always extravagant (okay, it rarely is) but it gets me and the family out of the house and on a little bit of an adventure once in a while. Sometimes I travel solo for work and sometimes we just take long weekends to visit family. That’s an easy thing to do — with as big as my family is, there’s almost always some sort of extended family event going on anyway!
I do a lot of thinking about the foods I like to eat, the recipes you all request, and then factor in the kinds of ingredients that are family-friendly and quick to cook. That’s where this delicious pasta dish comes in. I think it’s all the things we all want, cooked together in one pot for easy clean up. Plus, there are no fancy or hard-to-find ingredients — you might even already have everything on hand!
HOW DO YOU MAKE ONE POT CREAMY PESTO CHICKEN PASTA?
The first thing I do is get out my trusty, deep, 12″ skillet. That puppy has pulled off many a mean pasta meal. I add the oil and butter and heat them together over medium heat. Once those are heated through and the butter is nice and melty and done foaming, I add in the onion and garlic and saute until they are nice and fragrant and soft.
When that gets going, I add in the chicken, letting that cook for a minute with the oil, butter, garlic, and onions. I sprinkle in the flour and salt, and give it all another stir. (This is the part that gives the chicken a nice coat and helps makes the dish creamy.) I pour in the broth and cream and keep stirring, stirring, stirring, then turn the heat up to let the whole pot come back up to a simmer.
The pasta is the last ingredient I add while on the burner. I let the pasta cook through by lowering the heat and covering the skillet with a well-fitting lid. After about 12-15 minutes (when the pasta is just done), pull the dish off the burner and stir in the prepared pesto. Finally, I serve the pasta chicken pesto dish by spooning into bowls and sprinkling with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PESTO?
It’s no secret that I love all things pesto. I love it so much, I make my own probably once a month or more. When I don’t have time to make pesto, I use the store-bought kind which is also delicious!
To make my own, Easy Homemade Pesto, all you need is a few ingredients and a food processor or blender. My recipe combines basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Blend all of this together and keep in a jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to one week — if you can wait that long to scarf it all down.
HOW DO YOU USE PESTO SAUCE IN A JAR?
Jarred pesto sauce is a wonderful thing. It makes a great, herby, green sauce when you add it to other creamy ingredients such as chicken broth, heavy cream, butter, and oil featured in this recipe.
You can also make a creamy sauce all by itself by adding the jar of pesto to a saucepan over medium heat. Add heavy cream and butter to the pan with the pesto and stir it all together with a wooden spoon until everything is blended together and reaches the level of creaminess that you desire. From there, it’s easy enough to adjust ingredients to suit your tastes. Let the whole mixture simmer another 5-10 minutes to allow it to all come together and even reduce a bit. Use over pasta, chicken, or as a fondue dip. Get creative!
IS PESTO HEALTHIER THAN TOMATO SAUCE?
It’s true that creamier sauces that feature lots of oil and dairy products, such as pesto, and alfredo sauces do contain more fat and calories than regular red sauce which is made from mostly tomatoes and herbs.
However, pesto sauce is a bit of an exception in that the ingredients for pesto (olive oil, and pine nuts) contain the healthy kinds of fat — unsaturated fats that are good for your heart. Of course, the Parmesan cheese adds saturated (unhealthy) fat, but you can adjust or eliminate this ingredient if you are watching your saturated fat intake.
One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil butter
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ onion - chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces penne, butterfly, or ziti pasta
- ⅓ cup prepared pesto sauce
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch), 2-inch deep skillet over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, stir in the onion and garlic until softened and fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and cook for 1 minute, then sprinkle salt and flour over the chicken, stirring to coat.
- Gradually stir in the broth, and then the cream. Raise the heat and bring to a boil.
- Stir in the pasta noodles. Bring the heat down to a low simmer and cover the pan. Cook 12-15 minutes until pasta is tender.
- Remove from heat and stir in the pesto until incorporated. Remove from heat, top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.