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Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake

Servings: 4

Time: 90 minutes


No other pasta dish says "Summer" quite like this Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake to me.

I've always loved pesto, but especially when it's hot out. The nutty oil & basil puree is a comforting and refreshing sauce I'd eat on almost anything.

The key is baking the pesto into the farfalle. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top and it's just divine.

This is also one of my favorite dishes to make for friends. Justin and I love to welcome home our new-parent friends from the hospital with some premade meals. Every time, we get rave reviews on the Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake.

Now we're sharing it with you!

Double this for a crowd of 6-8, or a 9x13 foil-pan full of food for new parents.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil, + more for drizzling

  • 1 pound Boneless Chicken Thighs or Tenders

  • 2 teaspoons Salted Butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper

  • 2/3 cup dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio suggested) or chicken stock

For the pasta:

  • 8 ounces Farfalle (Bowtie) Pasta

  • 1 cup Broccoli or Broccolini florets, sliced into thin pieces*

  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

  • 8 ounces of Basil Pesto

  • 1/3 cup dry White Wine or chicken stock

  • 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 cup of Fresh Basil, sliced into thin strips

  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan, grated

Directions:

Put a pot of water on High heat to boil. Add in 1/2 cup salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the water to quicken with the boiling time. Once boiling, cook farfalle until al dente, (10-11 minutes or according to the instructions on the box). Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pasta in the colander & mix around to keep it from sticking together.

Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet pan (1-2 inches deep) to Medium heat. Put 1 teaspoon of butter in the pan. Coat the chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teas. salt & 1/2 teas. pepper.


Once the butter is bubbling in the pan, cook the chicken on both sides until white, (about 5-7 minutes each side.) Once the outside is white and the bottom of the pan becomes dry, put in the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter with 1/3 cup white wine. Stir the liquid around the chicken in the pan. As the pan dries up again and the chicken begins browning, continue cooking and add in remaining 1/3 cup of white wine, (about 8-10 minutes each side.) When golden brown, let cool in a separate dish.

Preheat the oven to 425*F. In the cast iron skillet, adjust the heat to Medium-High. Toss in the broccoli and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring throughout. Add 2 teaspoons of water to the pan if you prefer a more steamed texture. Toss in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for another minute. Remove broccoli from heat onto another dish.



Adjust heat to Low. Pour in the basil pesto. Stir in white wine and lemon juice. Add salt & pepper. The sauce should be the consistency of a puree. Add more white wine, stock, or water to get your preferred taste and texture. Let warm through about 3-5 minutes.


Add the pasta, broccoli and basil strip back into the pan. Stir to incorporate pesto. Add more salt & pepper to taste. Toss chicken in the dish to coat with a small amount of sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.


**Put the pan into the oven with the chicken on top and bake for 10 minutes. Before serving, let cool for 5 minutes.

*Broccoli can be replaced with another green vegetable like peas, zucchini, asparagus, or green beans. Adjust vegetable cooking time accordingly.

**If making ahead, transfer pasta & chicken dish to an oven-safe casserole dish. Store in the refrigerator up to 2 days in advance. Reheat in the oven on 350* F for 20-25 minutes before serving.

Directions:

  1. Put a pot of water on High heat to boil. Add in 1/2 cup salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the water to quicken with the boiling time. Once boiling, cook farfalle until al dente, (10-11 minutes or according to the instructions on the box).

  2. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pasta in the colander & mix around to keep it from sticking together.

  3. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet pan (1-2 inches deep) to Medium heat. Put 1 teaspoon of butter in the pan.

  4. Coat the chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 teas. salt & 1/2 teas. pepper.

  5. Once the butter is bubbling in the pan, cook the chicken on both sides until white, (about 5-7 minutes each side). Once the outside is white and the bottom of the pan is drying up, put in the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter with 1/3 cup white wine. Stir the liquid around the chicken in the pan.

  6. As the pan dries up again and the chicken begins browning, continue cooking and add in remaining 1/3 cup of white wine, (about 8-10 minutes each side). When golden brown, let cool in a separate dish.

  7. Preheat the oven to 425*F.

  8. In the cast iron skillet, adjust the heat to Medium-High. Toss in the broccoli and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring throughout. Add 2 teaspoons of water to the pan if you prefer a more steamed texture.

  9. Toss in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for another minute. Remove broccoli from heat onto another dish.

  10. Adjust heat to Low. Pour in the basil pesto. Stir in white wine and lemon juice. Add salt & pepper. The sauce should be the consistency of a puree. Add more white wine, stock, or water to get your preferred taste and texture. Let warm through about 3-5 minutes.

  11. Add the pasta, broccoli and basil strip back into the pan. Stir to incorporate pesto. Add more salt & pepper to taste. Toss chicken in the dish to coat with a small amount of sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

  12. **Put the pan into the oven with the chicken on top and bake for 10 minutes. Before serving, let cool for 5 minutes.

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Chelsea Boccardo Smith

Chelsea is the creator and founder of At Chelsea's. She enjoys sharing home entertaining tips, recipes, and menu ideas. Find time saving checklists & party planning guides on her Etsy shop. When she's not writing about her most recent party, she's out trying a new restaurant or taking her dog, Amber, for a long walk.
Learn more about Chelsea.

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