Chicken Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta

 

Chicken and Spinach Pesto Penne

Whew! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe. I hope y’all hadn’t forgotten about me! This last month has been super busy! After an awesome family vacation to Hawaii and working some overtime at work in the last couple of weeks, it’s time to get back into the kitchen!

When you’ve been working extra hours and later than normal, the last thing you want to do is spend a long time in the kitchen making dinner. Jon and I came up with a great Chicken Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta that is super easy and quick to make. This has quickly become our new favorite pasta dish to make at home. I made extra for this recipe that way he and I wouldn’t have to race to get the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It has loads of garlic flavor too! (I just LOVE garlic!)

Ingredients:
3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, diced or cut into 1-inch pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the chicken)
2/3 cup diced or chopped fresh tomato
4 cups uncooked penne pasta, cooked according to package directions; *reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
10 basil leaves
3 cloves of fresh garlic (if you aren’t that crazy about garlic, then reduce the garlic to 1 or 2 cloves)
¼ cup shredded asiago cheese or parmesan cheese
1/3 cup roasted almonds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (for the pesto)
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
Additional shredded asiago or parmesan cheese for garnish

 

Spinach Pesto Ingredients
For the Spinach Pesto: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, basil, garlic cloves, asiago or parmesan cheese, almonds, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and ground black pepper.

 

Spinach-Basil Pesto

Process or blend the pesto ingredients until it is a paste-like consistency. Turn off the food processor or blender and scrape down the sides with a silicone/rubber spatula, if necessary, and blend again if the pesto has big pieces left. Set aside.

 

Cook diced chicken

Preheat a skillet on medium heat and add the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through.

 

Cooked Pasta with reserved pasta water

While the chicken is cooking, cook the pasta according to package direction (as stated above in the ingredient list). Before you drain the water from the pasta, ladle out about ½ cup of the pasta water and set it aside (we’ll use the water later).

 

Cooked Chicken and Tomatoes

Add in the chopped tomato to the chicken and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

 

Add Pasta to Chicken and Tomatoes

Add the cooked pasta to the chicken and tomatoes.

 

Add the Pesto to Chicken and Pasta

Spoon the spinach pesto into the chicken and pasta, and pour in the reserved pasta water.

 

Toss Chicken and Pasta to Coat with Pesto

Gently toss the pasta and chicken with the pesto to coat. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and transfer the pasta to a serving dish if you like.

 

Chicken with Spinach Pesto Penne

Garnish the Chicken Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta with additional asiago or parmesan cheese!  Yum!  I can’t wait to dig in!

 


 

 

Chicken Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings

A quick and easy chicken and pasta coated in a garlic-spinach basil pesto!
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, diced or cut into 1-inch pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the chicken)
  • ⅔ cup diced or chopped fresh tomato
  • 4 cups uncooked penne pasta, cooked according to package directions; *reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic (if you aren’t that crazy about garlic, then reduce the garlic to 1 or 2 cloves)
  • ¼ cup shredded asiago cheese or parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup roasted almonds
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (for the pesto)
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • Additional shredded asiago or parmesan cheese for garnish
Instructions
  1. For the Spinach Pesto: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, basil, garlic cloves, asiago or parmesan cheese, almonds, ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Process or blend the pesto ingredients until it is a paste-like consistency. Turn off the food processor or blender and scrape down the sides with a silicone/rubber spatula, if necessary, and blend again if the pesto has big pieces left. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a skillet on medium heat and add the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add in the chicken and cook until chicken is cooked through.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, cook the pasta according to package direction (as stated above in the ingredient list). Before you drain the water from the pasta, ladle out about ½ cup of the pasta water and set it aside (we’ll use the water later).
  5. Add in the chopped tomato to the chicken and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the chicken and tomatoes.
  7. Spoon the spinach pesto into the chicken and pasta and pour in the reserved pasta water.
  8. Gently toss the pasta and chicken with the pesto to coat. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the pasta to a serving dish if you like.
  9. Garnish the Chicken Spinach Pesto Penne Pasta with additional asiago or parmesan cheese!

 

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