There are days when I just don’t have the energy and don’t feel like cooking. You know the ones. The ones that are filled with appointments, after-school activities or work commitments. On those kinds of days, this One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta is the perfect meal to make when I need to get dinner on the table quickly. It’s low-cost, filling, creamy, rich and comforting, but also means I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen, which is a win for me… and a win for you! I use a whole head of broccoli in this recipe (stalk and all, so there is no waste), which means there is no having to fuss around with sides. It’s all made in the one pan and the result is minimal wash-up and outrageously delicious pasta, with minimal effort! I love this recipe so much that it features in my debut cookbook The Simple Dinner Edit, available now at all major retailers.

One pan pesto chicken pasta
You can add any veggies you like to this dish, but my personal favourite is broccoli. I use the stalk and all, finely chopped, so there is no waste.

Now, when I say one pan, I mean it. Uncooked pasta is tossed into the pan (no cluttering up the stovetop or waiting for pasta water to boil!) and the starches released from the pasta help to thicken the luscious sauce. Don’t feel limited by the broccoli either, there are plenty of other delicious variations which I’ve listed below for you. It’s the ultimate recipe to use up any odds and ends in the fridge.

Meal prep it

This is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time, ready for when you need it! Refrigerate the cooked pasta for us to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw it completely in the fridge overnight prior to reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

What other vegetables can I add in?

Aside from broccoli, you could add sliced green beans, sliced asparagus, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, sliced green beans, snow peas, spinach leaves or cherry tomatoes. Add up to 3 cups of vegetables.

How to perfectly cook one pan pasta

To make a one-pan pasta dish (where the pasta is cooked in the pan), it’s important that you use a heavy-based piece of cookware such as a heavy-based casserole dish (cast iron) or a thick-based, deep frying pan. Thin cookware will not heat evenly and may leave you with too much or too little liquid. The liquid needs to be simmering the entire time (gently with small bubbles). If it isn’t, modify the heat by turning it up or down slightly to maintain that simmer.

Is One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta suitable for leftovers?

Yes, One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw completely in the fridge overnight before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

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One pan pesto chicken pasta

One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 7 reviews

One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta, the ultimate fuss-free dinner for busy weeknights! It’s super quick to prepare and all cooked in the one pan, so there is minimal fuss and minimal clean up. 

  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) chicken breast fillets, diced
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
  • 40 g ( 2 ½ tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic, freshly minced
  • 3 cups (720 ml) chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups (360 ml) thickened/heavy cream
  • 250 g (8 oz) short pasta (that takes between 89 mins to cook)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk finely sliced (or 2 cups vegetables of choice)
  • 2 tbsp pesto, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 cup (100 g) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Fresh basil leaves to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chicken, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes until the chicken is just cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Add the butter and once melted, add the garlic. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and cream. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add the uncooked pasta. Cook for 4 minutes, lid off, stirring occasionally.
  4. Scatter the broccoli (or vegetables of choice) on top of the pasta (see note 1). Place the lid on and cook for an additional 4 minutes, shuffling the pasta gently using your wooden spoon as required to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the base of the pan. 
  5. Return the chicken to the pan and stir through the pesto and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add fresh basil leaves and enjoy!

Notes

Note 1 – It’s okay if some of the vegetables become submerged, but try not to stir them through; they will steam as the pasta and sauce cook. It’s important that the pasta remains as submerged beneath the sauce as possible to ensure it cooks evenly.

Make ahead

Prep the chicken and vegetables up to 3 days prior.

Leftovers

Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 2 months. For best results, thaw completely in the fridge overnight before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: pasta, one pan meal, chicken pasta
  • Method: pan
  • Cuisine: Italian