Solve your dinner time dilemma with this 4-ingredient Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta that can be on your table in just 20 minutes.
Pesto is a flavor bomb ingredient and sun-dried tomato pesto is no exception. This recipe uses jarred pesto for ease and convenience, and it takes the place of traditional red sauce. The result is so delicious!
If you are a pesto lover, try my Pepita Basil Pesto for another delicious option.
Why you will love this
- Chicken - Boneless skinless chicken breast cooks quickly and is perfect for this 20-minute skillet meal. You can substitute leftover or rotisserie chicken.
- Sun-dried tomato pesto - This pantry staple is packed with flavor and is a great base for a sauce.
- Pasta - I used long fusilli, but any shape works. Pasta with ridges or nooks - like cavatappi, farfalle, or rotini - will catch the sauce.
- Spinach - Fresh spinach works best. I love baby spinach. Kale can be substituted.
Please see recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Cook the pasta in a pot of well-salted water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to melt. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. (Image 1 and 2)
- Cook for 5-6 minutes and flip. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (Image 3)
TIP: For thicker chicken breasts, cover the skillet after flipping the chicken. This will help to cook the chicken evenly throughout. Always use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature.
- Transfer the chicken to a clean plate and allow to rest while making the sauce. (Image 4)
- Add the pesto to the skillet. Add ½ cup of pasta water and stir to create a sauce. (Image 5 and 6)
- Transfer the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce. If necessary, add more pasta water. (Image 7)
TIP: If using leftover or rotisserie chicken, add to the sauce along with the pasta. Toss to heat through.
- Add the spinach and toss to combine. (Image 8)
- Slice the chicken and add back to the skillet.
- Garnish with basil, fresh tomatoes, and/or Parmesan if desired.
- Cook the pasta in well-salted water. This is your opportunity to flavor the pasta itself. Add approx. 2 teaspoons of salt for 12 ounces of pasta.
- Reserve some of the pasta water before draining. Pasta water is a magical ingredient. It's flavored from the salt and full of starch. This starch helps bring the sauce together to coat the pasta.
Sun-dried tomatoes give this pesto an intense tomato flavor. It's tangy, slightly-sweet, and is robust in flavor from basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and nuts, typically pine nuts.
These intensely-flavored morsels can be added to salads, pasta salads, pastas, sauces, spreads (such as pesto), or sandwiches.
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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken
- 12 ounces long fusilli pasta (or similar)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 6-8 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
- salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomato pesto
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. (Note 1) Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the. Cook for 5-6 minutes until golden brown on the first side.
- Flip the chicken, cover the pan and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. (Note 2) Transfer the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to low.
- Add the pesto to the skillet along with ½ cup of the pasta water. Stir to combine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the pasta and toss to coat with the sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary. Add the baby spinach and toss to combine.
- Slice the chicken and add back to the pan. Garnish with fresh tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan shavings.
- Cook the pasta in well-salted water. Use 2 teaspoons salt for 12 ounces of pasta.
- For thicker chicken breasts, cover the skillet after flipping the chicken. This will help to cook the chicken evenly throughout. Always use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.