Creamy Pesto PastaJump to Recipe
This dish is such a delicious spring and summertime dinner! Whole wheat penne tossed in a creamy homemade pesto sauce, topped with chicken and sautéed cherry tomatoes.
Tips & Recommendations:
- Protein – Skip the chicken and go vegetarian or add some shrimp to meet your dietary needs.
- Pesto – When making the pesto, you can use basil or garlic infused olive oil to give it some extra flavor. Another great idea, that I got from Kellyswholelife – Health Coach, is to add spinach or kale to the pesto. You can do this by either substituting 1 cup of basil with spinach and kale or adding some in addition to the basil. Either way, you will get some extra veggies in the meal and you don’t compromise the taste.
- Simplify – If you don’t have time to make the pesto from scratch, you can buy premade pesto at the grocery store. I recommend making it from scratch because the flavor is so fresh. However, you can simplify by getting it premade. If you do this, I recommend going for the pesto that is in the perishable section such as Buitoni Pesto with Basil.
Creamy Pesto Pasta
- 2 cup Fresh Basil
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil Optional to used garlic or basil infused
- ⅓ cup Pine Nuts
- 2-3 cloves Garlic
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- Salt & Pepper
Pasta, Tomatoes & Chicken
- 8 oz Whole Grain Pasta Penne (Half of a 16 oz carton)
- 2 Thin Chicken Breast
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 6-10 Cherry Tomatoes Halved
- Bring large pot of water to a boil and then add Penne. Cook for 11-12 minutes until al dente.
- Once pasta is done strain pasta and set aside.
- In a food processer or blender, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and pulse until everything is well combined.
- Pour in olive oil and pulse until well combined and there are no large pieces of basil, garlic or pine nuts. Avoid over mixing to prevent it from separating and becoming "oily". Set aside.
- Rinse and pat chicken breasts with a paper towel.
- Salt and pepper both sides.
- Heat a tsp of olive oil in a medium pan over medium high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side for thin chicken breasts. Time may vary based on chicken breast size.
- Once cooked thoroughly, set aside.
- Add halved cherry tomatoes to pan used for chicken and sauté them until they are soft and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.
Sauce and Assembly
- In a medium to large non-stick pan, combine heavy cream and parmesan cheese over medium heat. Wisk until it begins to thicken and bubble.
- Once thickened, add 3/4 cup homemade pesto and whisk together.
- Toss penne in the pesto and add to plate, top with chicken and cherry tomatoes and serve hot.
Check out our other recipes below or partner this dish with my garlic pull apart bread.