This creamy One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal! It's quick & easy to make and the pasta is bursting with pesto flavor!
You know those busy weeknights when the kids are hungry (like 10 minutes ago) and you want dinner on the table ASAP?! Well if you've been following Dance Around the Kitchen for awhile, you know how much I love my one pot meals, especially pastas!
Why use extra dishes to boil noodles separately when you can cook them right into the sauce and soak up all that great flavor?! That's right - in this recipe, you'll add uncooked penne pasta to the sauce and you'll have this easy dinner option on the table in no time! It's my hope that when you grab your phone and search "easy dinner idea," my recipes will come to the rescue!
- Vegetable Oil - Olive oil will work fine, too
- Chicken - I used chicken breasts, but you can opt for dark meat or even leftover grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, etc
- Diced Onion - I prefer white or yellow onions
- Garlic - You can use minced garlic cloves (if you have fresh garlic on hand) or jarred minced garlic
- Chicken Broth - You can use regular or low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock for this recipe
- Dry Pasta - I use penne, but any short pasta will work (ex. bowtie, ziti, cavatappi, rigatoni, etc.)
- Pesto - You can use store-bought pesto or homemade (see details below)
- Cream Cheese - If you don't have any on hand, you can use ¼ cup of heavy cream in its place
How to Make One Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta
First, you'll finely chop your onion and cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. These will be added to a large, deep skillet with oil over medium-high heat.
Once the onions are tender and the chicken is browned on all sides, you'll add the garlic, broth, water and pasta.
Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The pasta should be al dente or completely cooked at this point and most of the liquid should be soaked up.
Next, you're going to add the pesto and cream cheese and stir until creamy. If you'd like to thicken the sauce a bit, continue to cook over low heat for a couple minutes. If you want to add more liquid, simply add a splash of chicken broth and stir it in.
This recipe is packed with flavor, thanks to the pesto. However, any of the following ingredients would be a great addition to the recipe: cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, diced fresh tomatoes, red pepper flakes, diced roasted red bell peppers and spinach.
Simply add these items in when you add the cream cheese.
How to make Homemade Pesto
Here's what you'll need to make pesto:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (or half basil, half spinach)
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½+ cup olive oil
Pesto is really so easy to make and a great way to use up some basil! In a food processor, you'll add all of your ingredients and blend it up. You can add a couple more tablespoons of oil to thin it out a bit.
I like to make a couple batches at a time. I'll use what I need at the time and freeze the rest. I like to pour the remaining pesto into an ice cube tray. Then I freeze them and put the cubes into a freezer baggie. Then, the next time I want pesto, I simply put a few cubes in a bowl and let it thaw out. It's super easy!
I like to serve the pasta hot from the skillet topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and a couple chopped fresh basil leaves!
I like to serve this creamy chicken pesto pasta with a crisp green salad and a breadstick or garlic bread!
Place the leftover pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Other One Pot Pasta Recipes
One Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta - Loads of flavor and the combination of chicken and andouille sausage make this pasta a hit!
Homemade Beefaroni - It's like the childhood classic, but soooo much better homemade!
One Pot Spaghetti - Save on dishes with this one pot spaghetti!!
One Pot Enchilada Pasta - All the flavors of a beefy enchilada but in pasta - YUM!