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Pesto Chicken Penne

Pesto Chicken Penne with Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan

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Recipe Details


We never tire of pesto pasta—there’s something about perfectly al dente noodles tossed in a blend of fresh basil, olive oil, and Parmesan that we just can’t turn down. Chef Elana’s take on the classic Italian dish subs in nutty, hearty whole-wheat penne. Splashes of heavy cream and white wine add richness to the pesto sauce, which is a perfect match for juicy chicken, grape tomatoes, and spinach.


  • Stovetop Only
  • Quick Prep

Quick facts

Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill
By Chef Elana

By Chef Elana

Nutritional info

  • Calories 850
  • Protein 60g
  • Total Carb 80g
  • Total Fat 34g

Given the cook-at-home nature of Plated and natural variation in ingredients, nutritional information is approximated. See details.

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • baby spinach
    3 ounces
    baby spinach
  • grape tomatoes
    1/2 pint
    grape tomatoes
  • yellow onion
    yellow onion
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
    boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • whole-wheat penne pasta
    6 ounces
    whole-wheat penne pasta
  • unsalted butter
    2 packets
    unsalted butter
  • white wine
    1/4 cup
    white wine
  • heavy cream
    2 tablespoons
    heavy cream
  • pesto
    1/4 cup
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
    1 ounce
    shaved Parmesan cheese
  • basil
    1/4 ounce

What You’ll Need

  • 10" large pot
  • 12" large pan

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare Ingredients

    Prepare Ingredients

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Halve tomatoes. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice.

  2. Cook Chicken

    Cook Chicken

    Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken and sear until cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to cutting board, reserving pan for Step 4, and set aside to rest.

  3. Cook Penne

    Cook Penne

    While chicken cooks, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in penne and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.

  4. Cook Aromatics

    Cook Aromatics

    Return pan from chicken to medium heat and add butter and onions. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add white wine and continue cooking, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, 1-2 minutes more. Meanwhile, cut chicken into ¼-inch slices.

  5. Season Pasta

    Season Pasta

    Add heavy cream and cooked penne to pan with onions, still over medium heat, and stir to combine. Add ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water and stir to coat noodles with sauce, 1-2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

  6. Plate Pesto Chicken Penne

    Plate Pesto Chicken Penne

    Add pesto, spinach, tomatoes, and sliced chicken to pan with penne. Stir vigorously until everything is fully coated with pesto—add more pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired, then divide between serving bowls. Garnish with Parmesan, roughly tear basil leaves over top (discarding stems), and dig in!

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