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Chicken Pesto Pasta

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  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Italian



1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into 1″ pieces (or leftover rotisserie chicken)

1/2 cup pesto

1012 oz pasta of choice (see blog notes for my favorite)

2 tsp salt

3/4 cup pasta cooking water

Parmesan, for serving

Red pepper flakes, optional


Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil.

If you’re not using leftover rotisserie chicken, in a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to warm plate.

Add pasta to the boiling water and reduce heat to medium. Cook for the length of time per the packaging.

Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain pasta in a colander, leave it for a minute.

Transfer pasta to a serving bowl (do not use pot you cooked the pasta in)

Add pesto and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss to coat pasta in pesto, adding more water if required to make pasta silky and saucy, rather than dry and sticky.

Taste, add more salt and pepper if desired.

Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parmesan and basil.