It’s time for an easy and delicious recipe that combines chicken with sun dried tomato pesto in a creamy pasta sauce. Start the pasta while making the sauce and you will be ready to serve this in about 20 minutes!
What kind of chicken is needed for this recipe?
There are different versions of this recipe floating around, most using chicken breasts. I started out making this with chicken breasts and worked on the sauce. But after a few tries I realized that this sauce is ideal for using cooked shredded chicken. So now I either use leftover shredded chicken (breast or thigh) or purchase already cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in convenience. It makes a perfect dinner for weeknights or any other day when time is just not on your side.
How to make sauce from sun dried tomato pesto
It starts with mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms in a skillet with oil/butter. Then add the rotisserie chicken. Stir and cook this a couple minutes - you are really just warming up the chicken here. After a few minutes, transfer the chicken and mushrooms to a bowl while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, of course you need a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto. I’ve tried several brands of tomato pesto and have liked them all for this recipe. The jars vary in size from about 6 - 6.5 ounces. Just put the whole jar in. Then slowly add the half and half, whisking vigorously while adding. Whisk and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. You will notice the sauce will start to reduce and thicken a little bit. Adjust seasoning with a little salt and freshly ground pepper, as desired.
Add the spinach and mix it in – it only needs to wilt.
How to serve
If you like to serve pasta and sauce separately, then feel free to do so. It works best if people have different preferences. For instance, I might want the sauce on zoodles and the carnivore will always choose traditional pasta noodles. Keeping the items separate helps with that.
But when just having pasta, it is my preference to add the pasta to the sauce as soon as both are ready. When you do this, the pasta with absorb some of the sauce flavor and you can be sure there is an equal amount of sauce on every noodle! Somehow, I always end up with leftover pasta or sauce when I keep them separate!
I like to serve this with a simple green salad so I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!
Either way, it is simply delicious!
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken
- 1½ - 2 pounds chicken cooked and shredded (rotisserie chicken works great!)
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced (button or cremini)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ cup half and half
- 6-6.5 oz jar sun-dried tomato pesto
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves rough chopped
- 2 cups dried pasta rotini or similar
- Begin cooking pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chicken and stir with the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken and mushrooms to a bowl.
- Add pesto to skillet. Slowly add the half and half, whisking to combine. Continue whisking and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and mushrooms back to the pan and stir to coat. Cook for 4-5 minutes; sauce will reduce and thicken slightly. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the spinach and mix in.
- Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir to coat.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Sun dried tomatoes are packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants (including lycopene) that are believed to decrease the risk of certain cancers, neutralize free radicals and decrease inflammation. They are also loaded with vitamins C (which supports the immune system) and K, as well as iron. (trainafoods.com)
Sounds pretty healthy to me!
I haven't tried it yet but it is on my list to try! I think all those mushrooms would make the sauce "meaty" enough, plus the spinach gives some variety and ups the nutrition. If you try it before me, let me know how it goes!
Love pasta? Try my green pasta sauce for a different and healthy spin on pasta!