Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Angel hair pasta in a creamy pesto sauce with shredded chicken.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken…it’s luscious and filling, made in just minutes in a skillet on your stovetop OR in your Instant Pot. Either way, it’s this creamy garlic pasta is a fast, easy, and delicious skillet meal your family will beg for again and again.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Recipe

Angel hair pasta in a cream sauce with shredded chicken.

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We?

Of all one-pan dinners, this might just be our favorite one. I like it with the red bell peppers and mushrooms (of course!), while my boys always want it vegetable-free. (What is WRONG with them??)

Call it whatever you prefer – creamy garlic pasta or creamy mushroom pasta….either way, it’s freakin’ delicious and so fast to make.

Who knew that plain ole half-and-half could make such a creamy pasta sauce, simply by just simmering and reducing it down until it thickens.

I’m always into one-skillet meals and there are several here on my website. And guess what? Most of them are rich and creamy, just like this one….soon to be family favorites at your house, too.

Creamy Tortellini Pasta Skillet (made with just 6 ingredients) is a very popular meal around this household, as well as Fiesta Ground Beef and Noodle Skillet….I’m always looking for good ground meals!

If you’re eating low-carb, be sure to try out my Low-Carb Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups – I was surprised at how delicious lasagna made with thin strips of zucchini is. Yowza!

And, if you’re after a hearty low-carb breakfast, you’ll want to make the Sausage and Cauliflower Breakfast Skillet again and again. Whenever I make this breakfast dish, nobody even notices the cauliflower, they think it’s potatoes!

What to Love About This Recipe –

  • It doesn’t involve lots of odd ingredients – just the basics.
  • You can include any type of pasta that you have on hand.
  • It’s satisfying and luxurious….and so so easy.

How to Make Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken in 3 Simple Steps

  1. Cook the garlic powder and bell pepper in a large skillet for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the sliced mushrooms and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, bringing it to a boil; stir in the pasta and reduce the heat to low. Let the pasta simmer, covered, until tender, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, half-and-half, and pesto, simmering again until the sauce thickens and is reduced. Top with parmesan and serve at once.


One-pan angel hair pasta in a pesto cream sauce.

Tips for Making Delicious One-Pan Dinners

  • you opt to use fat-free half-and-half in a sauce, know ahead of time that you may have to add just a bit of a cornstarch slurry for thickening the sauce.
  • A cornstarch slurry is made using equal parts of water and cornstarch. For this recipe, I suggest combining 1 Tbs. water with 1 Tbs. cornstarch, stirring until smooth. Add the slurry, a little at a time, to the sauce until it thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Cream sauces will also thicken further as they cool.
  • Any kind of vegetables can be added to this pasta skillet meal – asparagus, any color of bell pepper, diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos – whatever your heart desires.
  • We prefer angel hair pasta in this one-pan dinner since it cooks really quickly. However, small shell pasta is also good since each one of those little shells holds in a scoop of sauce!
  • This pasta reheats well. If needed, add just a bit of milk or half-and-half when reheating since pasta always tends to absorb sauces and dressings like crazy as it sits.
  • This is a great recipe for using leftover shredded rotisserie chicken. Or, cook chicken breasts or chicken thighs at home for this dish.
  • We love boneless, skinless chicken thighs for many skillet meals. The dark meat is very juicy and flavorful, not to mention budget-friendly, too.

More Favorite Recipes to Try –

Printable Recipe for Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken…it's luscious and filling, made in just minutes in a skillet on your stovetop OR in your Instant Pot. Either way, it's this creamy garlic pasta is a fast, easy, and delicious meal your family will beg for again and again.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 454kcal

Ingredients

  • 1-2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 sweet red pepper, optional seeds and membranes removed, diced
  • 8 oz. sliced button mushrooms, optional
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta, broken into thirds may substitute any type of pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 2 cups half and half, may substitute fat-free half and half
  • 2-3 Tbs. jarred basil pesto, usually found in the pasta aisle
  • ½ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter; add the garlic powder and bell pepper, cooking 3-4 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • To the same skillet, add the chicken broth; bring to a boil. Add the pasta, reducing the heat to low; cover the skillet and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed and pasta is nicely tender.
    Stir in the chicken half-and-half, and pesto, simmering again until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper; garnish with parmesan cheese and serve at once.
    **Note: the sauce will also thicken as it cools.

Notes

 
  • If you opt to use fat-free half-and-half in a sauce, know ahead of time that you may have to add just a bit of a cornstarch slurry for thickening the sauce.
  • A cornstarch slurry is made using equal parts of water and cornstarch. For this recipe, I suggest combining 1 Tbs. water with 1 Tbs. cornstarch, stirring until smooth. Add the slurry, a little at a time, to the sauce until it thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Cream sauces will also thicken further as they cool.
  • Any kind of vegetables can be added to this pasta skillet meal – asparagus, any color of bell pepper, diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos – whatever your heart desires.
  • We prefer angel hair pasta in this one-pan dinner since it cooks really quickly. However, small shell pasta is also good since each one of those little shells holds in a scoop of sauce!
  • This pasta reheats well. If needed, add just a bit of milk or half-and-half when reheating since pasta always tends to absorb sauces and dressings like crazy as it sits.
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Creamy Pesto Pasta, easy skillet meal, One-Pan Dinner

Nutrition

Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 617mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1151IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 207mg | Iron: 2mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

Blog Comments

5 stars
i love one pot meals and we love chicken. Excited to try this one!

Hi Kellie –
I think your family will love how creamy and rich this meal is. And, almost even better, it’s fast and easy to make on busy weeknights!
Let’s Keep Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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