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Pesto Chicken Penne

Pesto Chicken Penne with Tomatoes and Shaved Parmesan

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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. In this Popular Recipe, hearty whole-wheat penne is coated in a creamy white wine–pesto sauce, a perfect match for juicy chicken, grape tomatoes, and spinach.

  • Stovetop Only
  • Quick Prep
Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill
  • Calories 820
  • Protein 48g
  • Total Carb 80g
  • Total Fat 35g

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

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

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

What You’ll Need

  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 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. Pat spinach dry with paper towel. 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 2 teaspoons 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 and set aside to rest. Reserve pan, off heat, for Step 4.

  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. Caramelize onion

    Caramelize onion

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

  5. Season penne

    Season penne

    Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and cooked penne to pan with onion, 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. Save remaining cream for another use (it's obviously a great match for the pesto here, but also adds a little decadence to tomato-based pasta sauces).

  6. Plate pesto chicken penne

    Plate pesto chicken penne

    Add pesto, spinach, tomatoes, and sliced chicken to pan with penne. Stir vigorously to fully coat with pesto—add more pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Taste and add 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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