Creamy Basil Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken

basil pesto chicken
basil pesto pasta
basil pesto chicken
basil pesto chicken
basil pesto chicken

Truth be told we really only eat like 3 different meals for dinner, and this is one of them. The pesto is so fresh and satisfying, and goes so so so well over this pasta and juicy chicken. The pesto gets mixed with a bit of sour cream to make it perfectly creamy. It’s like, damn good. Let us know if you try it!

Creamy Basil Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken

serves 2 + takes 45 minutes + costs about $18


  • Large sauté pan with a tight fitting top (we use our Le Crueset Dutch oven). This basically just needs to be big enough to fit two chicken breasts comfortably.

  • Large pot for pasta

  • Chef's knife (or really any knife, whatever you have will do)

  • Cutting board


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (olive oil works fine)

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 10 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts**

  • salt & pepper

  • 16 oz rigatoni (or penne, or rotini)**

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts**

  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan

  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Here's how we're doing this: start with making the chicken, while that cooks start the pasta, while those two cook make the pesto. They'll all finish around the same time and then it's a wham bam thank you dadddddy to just throw it together.

  1. Make the chicken: Pat dry your chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. If they're uneven in thickness, use a Mason jar to pound them out a bit until they are uniform in size and thickness. Bring the pan you'll be using for the chicken to high heat and add the cooking oil and butter. It'll melt pretty quickly, and once it's hot enough that a drop of water sizzles immediately, add your chicken breast(s). Let sear for about 90 seconds, flip, and lower heat to low. Cover and let cook covered for ten minutes. After ten minutes, turn off the heat and let sit in the pan, still covered, for another ten minutes. Check for doneness (should have no pink in center, and/or read as 165 degrees on a meat thermometer). Remove from the pan, and slice into strips.

  2. While the chicken cooks, make the pasta according to the instructions on the package, strain and set aside.

  3. While the chicken and pasta are doing their thing, make the pesto by adding your olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and pinch of salt and pepper to a blender and pulse until most of the chunks have smoothed out. Add the Parmesan cheese and basil leaves and pulse to combine. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in the sour cream.

  4. Build your pasta by tossing together the pasta and creamy pesto sauce, and topping with the chicken. You can add some basil or pine nuts on top as well, and enjoy!


  • Chicken Note: To keep cost down further, you can substitute chicken thighs for the breasts, however it will be a good bit more fatty. You'll also likely need to watch the thighs closely as they may cook a good bit faster then breast.

  • Pasta note: Gluten free pasta would work just fine, and our favorite brand is Tinkyada! We used rigatoni here, but rotini and penne are both great options.

  • Nut note: If you don't use pine nuts very often and don't want to buy a whole container of them, you can sometimes find them in the bulk nuts sections in most grocery stores! Just eyeball out 1/3 cup (it's very little tbh) and you're good to go.


Xoxo Matt & Beau