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A plate of cooked chicken pesto pasta with a fork to the right hand side. A frying pan of the rest of the cooked dinner in the background.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken pesto pasta. This delicious and easy to make homemade pesto with pasta dinner is a perfect family meal for busy weeknights.
Course Dinner
Cuisine International, Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 559kcal
Author Neil


For the Homemade Pesto: -

  • 40 g fresh basil leaves
  • 45 g lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 g grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper

For the Pasta and Chicken: -

  • 200 g penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400 g chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
  • ½ tsp mixed herbs
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper


For the Homemade Pesto: -

  • If you have a food processor, blitz the basil leaves, then add the pine nuts and garlic and blitz again.
  • If you do not have a food processor, use a pestle and mortar, or sturdy bowl and the end of a rolling pin to bash the basil leaves into a pulp first, then add the pine nuts and garlic and bash them all together into a pulp.
  • Remove the ingredients into a separate bowl, add the lemon juice, oil, and the Parmesan cheese, mix all together. Season to taste

For the Pasta and Chicken: -

  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and reserve 3 -4 tbsp of the cooking water.
  • Whilst the pasta is cooking, gently heat the oil in a large pan / skillet then add the chicken and mixed herbs. Cooking, stirring occasionally for 6 - 7 minutes until cooked through.
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir in the drained pasta and the homemade pesto. Combining well. Add required amount of the reserved cooking water if pesto sauce is too thick.
  • Season to taste.


*You can make this with shop bought pesto if you want to save time. The nutritional label is for making the recipe with the homemade pesto though.


Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 216mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 612IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 2mg