$10.41 RECIPE / $2.60 SERVING
This Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in One Pot was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I see in grocery stores.
Those small packets are certainly wonderful for camping, storing a bomb shelter, or putting in your emergency storm supplies, but I believe something greater is necessary for evening meals.
Better but not harsher. This Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is ready in about 25 minutes, is extremely decadent and creamy, and requires only a few simple ingredients.
Optional CHICKEN, SPINACH, AND TOMATOES
This dish began with only pasta and sauce. Because sometimes that is all it takes to be content. However, I enjoy searching my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for leftover ingredients that may be added to whatever I’m cooking. Therefore, I made this creamy pesto chicken spaghetti with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. During testing, I ate it with only pasta and sauce, and it still made me do the happy chair wiggle.
WHAT PASTA SHOULD I USE?
The pasta I used was penne, although bowties or rotini would also work. Due to the importance of this pasta-to-broth ratio in one-pot pasta, I cannot recommend gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or even whole wheat pasta.
They may not work as well in this recipe as semolina pasta since they absorb liquid differently.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS WITH “ONE POT” PASTA
Some may find one-pot pasta challenging because the pasta is cooked in a significantly lower amount of liquid than in conventional pasta preparation methods.
Here are some suggestions for cooking pasta in a single pot uniformly and to the desired texture:
- Ensure that you are using high-quality cookware. Utilize cookware that is thick, hefty, and evenly heat-conductive. Some spaghetti will be overcooked, while others will be undercooked if thin cookware is used.
- Utilize a burner of comparable size to your kitchenware. This will ensure that the pot heats evenly and the pasta cooks evenly.
- Ensure that the broth simmers vigorously during the cooking period. If the pasta is not simmering, it will get mushy.
- Stir the pasta every few minutes to prevent sticking and ensure equal cooking.
- Cover the saucepan to trap the steam, which will aid in cooking the pasta.
CREAMY PESTO CHICKEN PASTA
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($5.56)
- 2 Tbsp. butter ($0.26)
- 2 cloves of garlic ($0.16)
- 1/2 lb. penne pasta ($0.40)
- 1.5 cups chicken broth ($0.20)
- 1 cup milk ($0.32)
- 3 oz. cream cheese* ($0.29)
- 1/3 cup basil pesto ($0.73)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)
- freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)
- 3 cups fresh spinach ($0.90)
- 1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes ($1.10)
- Cut each chicken breast into 1-inch-thick slices. In a deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook it over medium heat until the exterior is gently browned.
- During the cooking of the chicken, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the chicken and continue cooking for an additional minute.
- Add uncooked pasta and chicken stock to the chicken and garlic in the skillet. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the pan’s bottom. Cover the saucepan, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the broth to a boil.
- Once the stock reaches a rolling boil, stir the pasta briefly, return the cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. About 8 minutes, or until the pasta is soft and most of the broth has been absorbed, simmer the pasta over low heat. While the pasta is simmering, stir it briefly every two minutes and replace the top quickly after each stir.
- Add the milk, cream cheese (in chunks), and pesto once the pasta is soft and most of the stock has been absorbed. Stir and simmer the cream cheese in the sauce over medium heat until it has completely melted. Finally, whisk in the grated Parmesan until thoroughly blended.
- Add fresh spinach and sun-dried tomato slices, if using. Once the spinach has wilted, take the pasta from the pan and stir. Serve the pasta with fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
*We can see a cream cheese pack with ounce markings on the exterior wrapper. Use this as a template to remove three ounces from the block.
NUTRITION IN CREAMY PESTO CHICKEN PASTA
- Serving: 1 Serving
- Calories: 748.68 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 52.55 g
- Protein: 41.75 g
- Fat: 41.53 g
- Sodium: 1099.28 mg
- Fiber: 4.1 g
HOW TO PREPARE CREAMY PESTO CHICKEN PASTA – DIRECTIONS
- Slice one pound of the boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add 2 Tbsp butter to melt in a deep skillet over medium heat. Put the chicken pieces then cook them until the exterior is gently browned. Add two minced garlic cloves and cook for an additional minute.
- In a skillet, combine 1/2 pound of uncooked penne pasta and 1.5 cups of chicken broth. Briefly stir to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the broth to a rolling boil.
- Once the stock reaches a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 8 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and the majority of the broth has been absorbed. Replace the top and stir the pasta every two minutes or so as it simmers.
- Add 3 ounces of chunked cream cheese, 1/3 cup of pesto, and 1 cup of milk to the skillet. Stir the ingredients over medium heat until the cream cheese has completely melted and a creamy sauce has formed.
- Once the cream cheese has completely melted, whisk in 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan.
- If you like to include spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, as I did, add them after the sauce has been completed, stir until the spinach has wilted, and then remove the skillet from the heat.
- Finish the creamy pesto chicken spaghetti with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, whether or not you are using spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. The flavor bursts that these two ingredients add to the meal elevate it to the next level.
Dive in! 🙂