3 Step Pesto Chicken Pasta Recipe – a Simple and Delicious Weeknight Wonder

Tired of your usual pasta dishes and looking for a quick, budget-friendly dinner idea? This is one impressive and delicious dinner you can have on the table in around 20 minutes – we give you my favourite pesto chicken pasta recipe!

A weeknight winner

We all have that one night of the week when the motivation to cook is low and the takeaway dinner budget says no – this is where this pesto chicken pasta recipe earns its impressive dinner stripes, it’s inexpensive and on the table in just three speedy steps.

Pesto chicken pasta recipe tips and tricks

  • As nice as it is to make your own pesto (especially if you have an abundance of fresh basil), it’s perfectly fine to cheat the system, making life easier by picking up a jar of pesto from the supermarket for just a few dollars. It’s not only a cheaper option but also a time saver!
  • Use leftover BBQ chicken for this pesto chicken pasta recipe – or shred the meat and freeze it to use at a later date. Too easy!
  • Like a little bit of a spicy kick? You can add a touch of heat to this pasta recipe by adding a pinch of dried chilli flakes.
  • You can use fettucini for this pesto chicken pasta recipe, but penne and ziti pasta shapes are especially good for catching the creamy sauce.
  • CHANGE IT UP! If you’re not a fan of traditional basil pesto, Leggo’s make a beautiful sundried tomato pesto which is mighty delicious!
pesto chicken pasta recipe
Penne pasta catches the sauce in every bite. YUM! Source: Supplied

Pesto chicken pasta recipe

Serves: 4


  • 350g penne
  • 300ml light cream
  • ½ cup basil pesto (or pesto of your choosing)
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 finely sliced spring onions
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • ½ cup drained sun-dried tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated (plus extra to serve)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts to serve


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta and cook, following packet directions until tender. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water to thin out the sauce.
  2. Once drained, return the pasta to the pan over medium-low heat. Add back in the reserved pasta water, light cream, basil pesto, finely sliced spring onions, cooked chicken, chilli flake (if using) and the tomatoes. Stir gently to combine and warm through by stirring over the heat for another two minutes.
  3. Once warmed through to your liking, divide this chicken pesto pasta recipe between four bowls and top with a scattering of pine nuts and a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan.
pesto chicken pasta recipe
Sundried tomatoes and pine nuts are flavour hits in the pesto chicken pasta recipe. Source: Bigstock

More weeknight pasta recipe inspiration

We’ve got heaps of scrumptious pasta inspiration for you, and we’re not holding back! From saucy one-pot wonders that’ll make your kitchen adventures a breeze, to the ever-classic spaghetti and meatballs that’ll transport you straight to Italy, we’ve got it all. And of course, we can’t forget those irresistible, bubbling pasta bakes and all those other delightful pasta creations just waiting to be discovered!

So go on, you cheeky pasta fanatics, dig into our collection of delectable pasta posts and don’t be shy to bookmark your favourite recipes. Trust us, you’ll have your friends and family swooning over your culinary prowess in no time. Let’s get twirling those forks and make some pasta magic happen!

pasta recipes
We have ALL the most delicious pasta recipes here at Mum Central!

Do you have a favourite pasta dish on your dinner rotation? Be it spaghetti bolognese, macaroni and cheese, lasagne or something else completely different, we’d love to know what it is – let us know in the comments below!

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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