This rich and creamy pesto chicken pasta is the pasta recipe to make when you’re craving comfort food! Ricotta and pesto are the key ingredients in this luscious sauce and it’s all made in one pot!
Thanks to my friends at DeLallo for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Why you’ll love it
One pot pasta – No need to boil the pasta in a separate pot. This pasta recipe comes together in one pot making cleanup a breeze!
Ricotta pasta sauce – If you’ve never used ricotta cheese in a pasta sauce, you’ll be amazed by the creamy, rich flavor it adds. It’s a great alternative to cream cheese and an easy way to skip making a roux if you want a thick and creamy sauce.
Pesto – Pesto is one of my favorite ways to add a ton of flavor to whatever I’m cooking. My go-to brand that I use is DeLallo’s jarred pesto.
- Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs work great for this pasta recipe.
- Pesto – DeLallo’s jarred basil pesto is my favorite! It has the perfect balance of basil, garlic olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – They add a sweet tomato flavor and chewy texture. I love using DeLallo’s julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes as a way to save a step of cutting them.
- Shallots – A smaller onion with a milder flavor.
- Chicken broth – Instead of cooking the pasta in water you’ll use chicken broth for more flavor.
- Pasta – I recommend using a shorter shaped pasta for this recipe. I love using DeLallo’s shellbows. The tube/shell shape holds the creamy sauce and it’s proportionally sized to that of the chunks of chicken. Other shaped pastas that would work well are cavatappi, fusilli, and penne.
- Ricotta – I recommend using whole milk ricotta cheese for the creamiest consistency and richest flavor.
- Parmesan cheese and fresh basil – Both are used for garnish. They’re optional, but recommended.
How to make creamy pesto chicken pasta
Toss the chunks of chicken in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of pesto. Let them marinate for 15 minutes if you have time, otherwise add them to a hot skillet or pot with a little olive oil. If using a skillet make sure it’s deep enough to cook the pasta in.
Once the chicken is cooked through remove it from the skillet onto a plate. Add the shallots and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Bring the broth to a boil and then pour in the pasta. stir everything together and lower the heat to medium. Cook the pasta for 15-20 minutes or until it’s al dente. Stir the pasta often to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to help it to cook evenly.
When the pasta is al dente add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir in the pesto and ricotta until everything is coated. If the sauce is too thick add in a little water, broth, or milk to loosen it up.
Garnish the pasta with chopped fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese if desired.
- Substitute the chicken with shrimp.
- Omit the chicken and make it a vegetarian pesto ricotta pasta recipe.
- Substitute the sun dried tomatoes with roasted red peppers.
- Add a handful of fresh spinach in at the end for a fresh flavor.
Storage and reheating
This pasta will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can reheat it in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. If the sauce has become too thick, loosen it up with a splash of milk.
I don’t recommend freezing this pesto ricotta pasta. The texture of the sauce will likely change and the pasta will be mushy.
Can the pasta be made without the chicken?
Yes. Simply omit it. You could also replace the chicken with vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, broccoli, or brussels sprouts.
What can I use for the sauce instead of ricotta?
Replace the ricotta with a 1/2 cup of cream. The sauce won’t be as thick and cheesy tasting, but it will still be luscious and rich in flavor.
More pasta recipes
- Sun Dried Tomato Feta Pasta
- Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts Pasta
- Tomato Basil Pasta with Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pesto Pasta
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Did you make this creamy pesto chicken pasta? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- 5 tablespoons DeLallo basil pesto, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or use the sun dried tomato oil
- 1/4 cup DeLallo julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 1/3 cup diced shallots
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces DeLallo shellbows pasta
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- Fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Toss the chicken in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of pesto, salt and pepper. Let it marinate for 15 minutes if you have the time.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large deep skillet or pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and then add in the chicken and spread it into a single layer. Sauté the chicken for 6-8 minutes or until it’s cooked through. Remove the chicken onto a plate.
- Add the shallots and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the broth to a boil.
- Pour in the pasta and stir everything together. Lower the heat to medium and cook the pasta until it’s al dente, 15-20 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chicken back in and stir in the ricotta and 3 tablespoons of pesto. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a few tablespoons of water, broth, or milk. Cook until heated through and taste for seasoning. Remove the pasta from the heat and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 226mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 6gSugar: 18gProtein: 43g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.