Chicken pesto pasta

Chicken pesto pasta

Chicken pesto pasta isn’t a traditional Italian dish, but pesto Genovese is often served with meat and fish. Rachel Roddy’s comforting, vibrant pasta dish combines all three.

Each serving provides 716 kcals, 33g protein, 87g carbohydrates (of which 6g sugars) 25g fat (of which 5g saturates), 7g fibre and 0.3g salt.



  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

  2. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil, season and wrap in kitchen foil. Bake in the oven for around 15–16 minutes until cooked through. (Note that if the chicken breast is larger than specified, it may take longer to cook. A 150–200g/5½–7oz skinless chicken breast fillet will need 16–18 minutes; a 200–250g/7–9oz one 18–20 minutes; and a 250–300g/9–10½ one 20–22 minutes. If cooking more than four breasts at a time, increase the cooking time by 5 minutes, and don’t forget to check that each breast is cooked through.) Alternatively you can poach the chicken – place the chicken in a pan along with the peeled onion and carrot and cover with 2.5cm/1in cold water. Bring to a simmer, add a good pinch of salt and poach for 10–15 minutes, with a lid on, until the chicken is completely cooked.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, make the pesto. If you are using a pestle and mortar, start by pounding the garlic and salt to a rough paste, then add the pine nuts, then basil, then oil, and pound to a consistency you like. Stir in the cheese to finish. If you are working in a food processor you can blend the garlic, salt, pine nuts, basil and oil all together, and once you have a consistency you like, stir in the cheese.

  4. Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest until cool enough to handle, then shred into a large mixing bowl and toss gently with the pesto.

  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and boil the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, saving a cup of pasta cooking water. Combine the pasta with the chicken and pesto, and toss together, adding a bit of pasta water if it needs loosening. Serve.

Recipe Tips

You can use any pasta you like for this recipe, but it works particularly well with shapes like fusilli, casarecce and penne! This is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken too.