Chicken and Pasta with Lemon Pesto

Linguine with Grilled Chicken and Basil Pesto Sauce
Lauri Patterson / Getty Images
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (42)

Chicken and Pasta with Lemon Pesto is an easy and elegant main dish recipe perfect for entertaining. The lemon adds a bit of freshness that brings out all the flavors. You simply add lemon juice and grated lemon zest to purchased pesto, then mix that with cream, for an almost-instant sauce that is perfect on juicy chicken and tender pasta. Baby peas and freshly grated Parmesan cheese add the perfect finishing touch.

All you need to complete this meal is a fresh green salad or a fruit salad tossed with a simple dressing. Some garlic toast would be a nice accompaniment. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 (16-ounce) package linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (9-ounce) package basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups frozen baby peas
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make It

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. In large saucepan, combine butter, oil, and garlic over medium-high heat. When garlic begins to sizzle, add chicken breasts; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Cook and stir over medium heat until chicken is almost cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low.

4. Add pasta to boiling water; cook until al dente according to package directions.

5. When pasta is done, drain well and add with all but 3 tablespoons of the pesto, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, peas, and Parmesan cheese to chicken mixture; toss over medium heat until chicken is thoroughly cooked and mixture is hot.

6. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons pesto with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Drizzle the mixture over the chicken mixture and serve immediately.