Pesto Pasta w/ Chicken and Grape Tomatoes

pesto pasta

I make it well known here on the blog that I adore pesto. It’s so fresh and delicious and versatile. It’s quick and easy to prepare and you can make a meal that will impress guests without spending all of your time in the kitchen. One of my favorite pesto dishes to serve guests is this Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Grape Tomatoes. You can make a lot of food for very little money and guests won’t feel like you’ve skimped at all. The price of groceries seems to go up on a weekly basis and I don’t know about you, but serving steak to guests is almost out of the question. Pasta is always a great option and with this easy you can spend your time hanging out making memories rather than in the kitchen!

I love entertaining and always appreciate having recipes on the ready so that even if we invite people over at the last minute, there is no stress involved. This is one of those recipes. Invite the new neighbors over and get to know each other around the table, or say thank you to friends that helped you move.

If you are going to be entertaining with this dish, I suggest preparing your pesto sauce in advance so it’s one less thing to do when your guests arrive. There are a lot of different varieties of pesto out there, but I like to keep mine classic with fresh basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and olive oil. You can find a recipe by clicking here.

When I make this pesto pasta, I like to use cavatappi, which is a short cut pasta w/ lines on it. The pesto will really stick to this cut of pasta so you get fullness of flavor with every bit. You can also use penne w/ lines on it or rigatoni. I’m a pasta snob, so I buy Italian pasta. If I can’t have fresh pasta, then at least I can have Italian pasta. It’s more expensive, but the quality makes it worth it.

homemade macaroni and cheese

For this recipe, all you need in addition to the pesto and pasta is some grilled chicken breasts, grape tomatoes and extra cheese. During the summer I ask my hubby to grill the chicken breasts out on the BBQ but in the winter months my George Foreman Grill works just fine. Just dust it with a little black pepper and salt before placing it on the grill and when it’s done, cut it into bite sized pieces and it’s ready to go!

For a pop of color and extra fresh flavor, add some grape tomatoes. Just slice them in half. I am not a big fan of cooked tomatoes, so I add them in at the last minute. You can also add asparagus, green beans or any other vegetable that is in season.

pesto pasta

Assembling the Pesto Pasta w/ Chicken and Grape Tomatoes is a simple as draining the pasta, mixing in the pesto, then the chicken and tomatoes, tossing again, topping with the cheese and tossing again. That is it! If you’re feeding a large crowd, it’s easy to double the recipe and leftovers are good cold or warmed up.

Impress your guests with this delicious and easy (and affordable!) dish. Serve a Caesar salad or green salad on the side and you’ve got a complete meal that even picky kids will love.

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Pesto Pasta w/ Chicken and Grape Tomatoes

25 minutes

20 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Pesto Pasta  w/ Chicken and Grape Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lb Cavatappi pasta
  • Grape tomatoes, sliced in half (about 20-30)
  • Parmigiano-reggianocheese, to taste
  • Pesto

Instructions

  • Prepare the basil pesto
  • Boil the pasta until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it)
  • In the meantime, lightly season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and grill until they are completely cooked (NO pink in the middle.)
  • Drain the pasta and return to the pan.
  • Add the pesto to the pasta and stir thoroughly
  • Add the chicken and tomatoes and stir until well combined
  • Top with grated cheese and serve
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