One of my favorite weeknight dinners is Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta. My girls and I love pasta, but even the menfolk in my house enjoy this recipe. It’s a very quick recipe and great to make with leftover chicken. If you love pesto, you have to try this yummy and simple Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta. It takes just 20 minutes to make and is the perfect combination of flavors.
What You Need
- your favorite pasta
- cooked chicken (leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken works great!)
- cream of chicken soup
- pesto sauce
How To Make Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the salt and then your favorite pasta to the boiling water. I typically either use bowtie or penne pasta. Cook the pasta for the time as directed on the pasta box.
Next, you want to prep your cooked chicken. I frequently cook boneless skinless chicken breasts at the beginning of the week so I have chicken ready for various dishes. You can use whatever cooked chicken you have on hand. Chicken thighs are delicious too or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Cut up or shred your cooked chicken, whichever texture you prefer with your pasta.
In a large skillet, start to melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the chicken pieces. You are only looking to brown the chicken and start to heat it up.
Then add a can of cream of chicken soup. If you’re in a bind you can definitely make your own homemade cream of chicken soup. I’ve done that a few times when I realized one of my pantry staples were missing. The cream of chicken soup helps to create a creamy pesto sauce. I’ve found that lots of kids who don’t like a typical pesto sauce, lot this because the can of soup helps to mellow out the flavor a bit. Mix the cream of chicken soup around until the chicken pieces are coated.
Add your pesto sauce. Now you definitely can make homemade pesto sauce. You can check out my recipe that I love with fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. But you can definitely use a store-bought pesto sauce too. My favorite store-bought pesto is from Costco. I scoop out the large jar into freezer-safe baggies, half a cup in each baggie and it’s ready when I need them.
Then add the milk. Now if you want to make this richer, you definitely could substitute for heavy cream. I’ve done that on occasion when I have heavy cream I need to use up.
Stir everything together in the pan. When the sauce starts to boil, turn it to low and let it simmer while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
Once the pasta is finished boiling, drain and add to the sauce. Stir and coat well. I usually leave it to simmer for another minute before serving it hot with some Garlic Parmesan Rolls.
If you like, you can add a little pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to finish off your pasta dish. Only 20 minutes and you’ve got a creamy chicken pesto pasta recipe ready for your family!
Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- 1 lb dry pasta noodles whatever shape you love
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 cups cooked chicken leftover or rotisserie chicken cut or shredded
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- ½ cup pesto sauce jar or homemade
- ½ cup milk
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Once your water is boiling, add the salt and your pasta & cook as your pasta packaging directs.
- Put your butter in a large skillet over medium heat and melt. Toss in your chicken till it’s browned a bit.
- Dump in your can of cream of chicken soup. Mix till chicken is evenly coated.
- Add your milk and pesto sauce. Stir till combined.
- Once the sauce is gently bubbling, lower your heat to simmer while your pasta finishes.
- Strain your pasta when finished and dump the pasta to the skillet.
- Stir well and leave on a low for another minute or two before serving.