I will tell you that I am not a very adventurous eater. I was a very picky eater as a child and some of those habits have followed me into adulthood. This Pesto Pasta dish is something totally new to me!
I am sure it will sound crazy to those of you reading who are great cooks….and try new things, etc. This is the FIRST time I have ever cooked with pesto….EVER! Now…many, many years ago I ate a lot of dishes with pesto when I spent a summer in Switzerland. I enjoyed it there and had every intention of coming home and trying my hand at using pesto…but it never happened.
Recently, I had some broccoli and grape tomatoes left over from a veggie tray. I needed to get them used up and had seen a lot of recipes for pesto pasta dishes that included fresh veggies.
I decided to try it out and see what the family thought. I think this was the first time they had eaten any kind of dish with pesto in it!
I wanted this to be a one dish meal…so I added chicken. This is actually a pretty healthy recipe. You can use whole wheat pasta if you prefer that kind. The nutrients from the fresh vegetables adds a nice punch. You can also decrease the amount of Parmesan cheese if you want to watch the calories a little more!
My daughter had some the next day and said she thought it tasted better as leftovers! I love dishes that taste amazing the next few days!
I also wondered how this would be as a cold pasta salad…but didn't try it cold. If you do…leave a comment and let us know!
Do you love pesto sauce? How do you use it? Have you ever made a pesto pasta dish similar to this? I would love to hear from you!
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast choppped
- 16 oz. pasta any shape
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic or 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pesto divided
- 1 cup grape tomatoes cut into halves
- 2-3 cups fresh broccoli florets cut into small florets
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper optional
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water prior to draining pasta. Drain pasta and set aside.
While your pasta is cooking, preheat large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Saute for a minute, stirring often.
Add 2 tablespoons of pesto, tomatoes and broccoli and chicken. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring to cover chicken and vegetables with pesto, garlic and olive oil.
Remove skillet from the heat and add: 1/4 cup pesto, salt, black pepper, ground red pepper, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, pasta and pasta water. Stir very gently to combine all ingredients.
This does not need to be covered.
You can use the last 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top before serving.
You can use whole wheat pasta or gluten free pasta if preferred.
If you really love the pesto flavor, you can add a little more.