Chicken Pesto Pasta

4.8 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 20 mins
Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 2 Calories: 620 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Description

This chicken pesto pasta makes for a quick and flavorful meal. It’s versatile, so you can adjust the quantities of pesto, spinach, and other ingredients to suit your preferences. Enjoy your delicious homemade dish!

Ingredients

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Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving some pasta water.

  2. Cut the chicken into small cubes.

  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until fully cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  4. Add your spinach to the skillet. Cook until wilted. Add the pesto, cooked pasta, pasta water, and the chicken. 

  5. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the pesto sauce and the ingredients are heated through.

  6. Garnish the chicken pesto pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves before serving. Add extra salt, pepper, or more pesto sauce according to taste.

Tips

  • Cook the pasta al dente, so it's firm to the bite. This helps it hold up well when tossed with the other ingredients.
  • Reserve some pasta water before draining. This starchy water can be used to adjust the sauce's consistency and help it adhere better to the pasta.
  • Ensure the chicken breasts are evenly sliced or diced to promote even cooking and flavor distribution throughout the dish.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper before cooking. This enhances its taste and adds depth to the dish.
  • Adjust the amount of pesto to your taste preferences. If you love the flavor, you can add a bit more. Start with the recommended amount and gradually add more as needed.
  • If the pesto is too thick, you can thin it out by mixing in a bit of olive oil or pasta water to achieve your desired consistency.
  • Add a handful of pine nuts or toasted almonds for a delightful nutty flavor and added texture.
  • Sauté the spinach briefly in olive oil with garlic before adding it to the pasta for a boost of flavor.
  • For a creamier texture, consider adding a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of ricotta cheese to the pasta.
  • Garnish the finished dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese just before serving to add a salty kick and richness.
  • A sprinkle of fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley on top adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  • Don't hesitate to experiment! Try adding roasted cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, or artichoke hearts for extra depth of flavor.
  • You can also substitute the chicken with shrimp, tofu, or grilled vegetables for a different variation.
Keywords: pasta, pesto, chicken, spinach

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I make my own pesto sauce?

Yes, homemade pesto can be wonderful! It typically consists of fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.

How can I store leftover chicken pesto pasta?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When reheating, you might need to add a splash of water or broth to revive the dish's moisture.

Can I make chicken pesto pasta ahead of time?

While pasta dishes are best served fresh, you can prepare components in advance. Cook the chicken and store it separately. Cook the pasta al dente and store it with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Assemble everything when ready to serve.

How do I prevent the pasta from becoming dry?

Reserve some pasta water before draining. When mixing the pasta with pesto and other ingredients, add a bit of this starchy water. It helps create a creamy sauce and prevents dryness.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #themoderncookbook if you made this recipe. Follow @moderncookbook on Instagram for more recipes.

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