CREAMY PESTO PASTA WITH CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI
I’m a sucker for simple skillet meals because we all know that after a long day at work, you don’t want to cook everything… however, you have to take a bite. This ultra-quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli blends the delicious basil pesto flavor with the tangy cream cheese, creating a vibrant sauce covering the chicken, pasta, and broccoli. The pesto has all the herbs and garlic needed to make this dish, which means it’s unnecessary to cut an onion into pieces, chop garlic or weigh any spices or herbs since it’s all present in the pesto sauce! The entire dish cooks quickly so that you can get this dish on your dinner table in 30 minutes.
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT PASTA SHAPE?
Yep! Any pasta with a short shape, such as penne, rotini, or even macaroni, can suit this dish. You can also use a more significant type of pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine. However, mixing chunky ingredients, like broccoli and chicken, into long pasta is more complicated. Sometimes, cutting it in half before cooking can aid.
WHAT KIND OF PESTO DO YOU USE?
I used basil pesto I bought from ALDI to make this recipe, as it’s incredibly inexpensive. Classico and Barilla’s brand pesto are also quite affordable for those who don’t own an ALDI store near you.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE CREAM CHEESE?
If you don’t like creamy cheeses, you could create the same creamy sauce by replacing the cream cheese with 1/2 cup heavy cream or substitute both the broth from chicken and the cream cheese by using one cup half-and-half. It will taste lovely and creamy. However, it won’t have a strong cream cheese taste that some don’t love. Adding an extra pinch or two of salt in the final stages may be necessary in case you’re not using the broth from your chicken.
MAKE IT A VEGETARIAN CREAMY PESTO PASTA
This creamy pesto pasta is easily made vegetarian. Add a bit of broccoli, and substitute vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and you’ll be in good shape!
Eight oz. bow tie pasta ($0.67)
Eight oz. frozen broccoli florets ($1.00)
One tablespoon of olive oil ($0.12)
One lb. skinless, boneless, and skinless poultry breast ($2.49)
1/3 cup basil pesto ($0.73)
1/2 cup chicken broth ($0.07)
Four oz. cream cheese ($0.40)
Make sure you bring a large pot of water to boil pasta. When it has reached a boiling point, add the pasta, and cook until it becomes tender and firm in the middle (7-8 hours). Once the pasta is soft, add the frozen broccoli florets to the pot alongside the pasta. Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes up to the point that the broccoli is cooked. The pasta and broccoli should be rinsed using a filter.
While the pasta cooks, chop your chicken’s breast into pieces of 1/2-inch and cook one tablespoon of olive oil in a massive pan at medium-high temperature. Once it’s hot, cook the chicken, then continue cooking until the exterior of the pieces of chicken appears white. However, they’re still soft in the middle (they continue to cook while additional components are added).
Incorporate the broth of the chicken into the skillet along with the chicken, and let it simmer for a while. When heated, you can mix the cream cheese (cut into smaller chunks) and pesto. Continue stirring and cooking until the cheese has melted, creating an easy, creamy sauce. Add the pesto along with the chicken broth.
Add the pasta cooked and rinsed with the broccoli, and stir it to coat them in a creamy sauce. If the sauce is too thick or dry, add more soup to help loosen it. Serve hot.