Super easy to make and ready in 45 minutes, this crazy delicious Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake is guaranteed to become your new favorite. Perfect for a weeknight dinner when you want to relax and forget all your problems!
Those of you who are following my blog closely probably know that I am a fan of basil. If somebody would ask me what’s my most favorite all-time herb, the answer would be obvious. I adore this green leafy plant so much that I’m even growing it for the last 4-5 years in my not-so-big flat. On a windowsill. It’s way cheaper than getting such amounts (my hubby is a fan of basil too so we consume quite a lot of it) at a store or a farmer’s market.
Oh, wait. Who am I kidding?
I am most probably the worst saver in the world when it comes to grocery shopping. I’m just growing that basil because I love to. There is something in growing goods all the way from the seeds that makes you feel special!
The only downside, if we can call it that, is that when the time comes you get the whole forest of basil you have to consume pretty fast until it wilts. Even for us, avid eaters, it’s quite a task. Thankfully, you can make homemade pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays, storing the cubes in plastic freezer bags for up to 6 months! Works like charm in sauces, soups, or anywhere else.
This time, though, I had no more frozen pesto left so I had to use a store-bought one to show you one of my favorite recipes ever – this amazing Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake! I made this dish dozens of times and it still feels like a holiday every time I have it. Don’t ask me why it’s still not on the blog. I guess I didn’t ever have enough patience to make photos before stuffing this cheesy goodness into my face. All this has changed today!
I just couldn’t wait any longer without sharing this basil pesto chicken pasta with you, guys, so I pulled myself together and made it. During the basil season, I always use homemade pesto for this one but a store-bought sauce is perfectly fine too. What about pasta, even though I used penne here, you can substitute it with bow tie pasta, elbow macaroni, or anything you want!
What else can I say? The combination of pesto, pasta, chicken, and cheeses is splendid. One bite of this bake will make you forget all the problems. That’s why I love it for a weeknight dinner. To relax and enjoy the moment. I almost forgot to mention that this pasta is also really easy to throw together and is ready in under 45 minutes.
I almost forgot to mention that this pasta is also really easy to throw together and is ready in under 45 minutes. P.E.R.F.E.C.T!
- 1 lb (450g) boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper , or to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 12 oz. (340g) dry penne pasta
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought pesto
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the poultry for about 15 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pasta according to the package instructions. Toss with the remaining tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the pesto, ricotta, and sour cream until smooth. Add the cooked chicken and pasta to the mix and toss to coat. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes and serve. Enjoy!
Adapted from Adventures in Chicken by Eva Kosmas Flores