Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously […] The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously rich sauce to smother the pasta, chicken, and broccoli. The pesto provides all the garlic and herbal flavor needed, so there’s no need to even dice an onion, mince garlic, or measure any herbs and spices—it’s already in the sauce! The whole dish cooks very quickly so you can have this one on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.

Originally posted 11-24-2013, updated 8-9-2020.

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

Yep! Any short shaped pasta, like penne, rotini, or even macaroni will work fine for this recipe. You can use a longer type pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, but it’s a little harder to stir chunky ingredients, like the chicken and broccoli, into long pasta. Sometimes breaking it in half before cooking can help.

What Kind of Pesto Do You Use?

I used basil pesto from ALDI for this recipe because it’s super affordable. If you don’t have an ALDI store near you, Classico brand pesto and Barilla brand pesto also tend to be very affordable. 

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

If you’re not into cream cheese, you can make a similar creamy sauce by substituting the cream cheese with about a ½ cup heavy cream, or replace both the chicken broth and cream cheese with 1 cup half and half. The sauce will be nice and creamy, but it won’t have that tangy cream cheese flavor that some people are not a fan of. You may need to add a pinch or two of salt at the end if you’re skipping the chicken broth.

Make it a Vegetarian Creamy Pesto Pasta

This Creamy Pesto Pasta can easily be made vegetarian. Just use a little extra broccoli, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and you’re good to go!

Front view of a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a fork lifting one bite

 
A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

A super fast creamy pesto sauce drenches tender pasta, chicken breast, and broccoli for an easy weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $5.48 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 606.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
  • Liquid Measuring Cup
  • Color Cutting Boards
  • Chef's Knife

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli florets $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.49
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto $0.73
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and continue to boil just until the pasta is tender, but still slightly firm in the center (7-8 minutes). Once the pasta is tender, add the frozen broccoli florets to the water with the pasta and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and continue to cook until the outside of the chicken pieces are white, but they're still tender in the center (they will continue to cook as more ingredients are added).
  • Add the chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and allow it to heat through. Once hot, add the cream cheese (cut into small pieces) and pesto. Continue to stir and cook until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth, creamy sauce with the pesto and chicken broth.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir to coat it in the cream sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 606.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.58g | Protein: 37.18g | Fat: 28.33g | Sodium: 725.78mg | Fiber: 7.15g

How to Use Your Leftover Pesto

Not sure what to do with the rest of the jar of pesto? Try these recipes:

  • Pesto Grilled Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Sheet Pan Pesto Chicken Dinner
  • Pesto Stuffed Shells
  • The Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box
  • One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

How to Make Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8oz. bowtie pasta and continue to boil for 7-8 minutes, or just until it’s tender with a little firmness in the center. Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more or just until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.

Diced chicken breast on an orange cutting board

While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch chunks.

Broth being poured into a skillet with cooked chicken pieces.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the diced chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is white on the outside, but still slightly tender inside (it will continue to cook as more ingredients are added). Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and allow it to heat through.

pesto and cream cheese added to the skillet with the chicken and broth

Add 4oz. cream cheese (cut into small chunks) and ⅓ cup basil pesto to the skillet. 

Smooth and creamy pesto sauce in the skillet

Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth sauce with the pesto and broth. The cream cheese might look a little chunky as it’s melting, but keep stirring and cooking, it will smooth out once fully melted.

Finished creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet with a spatula

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir until it is all coated in the creamy pesto sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or too thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up.

And that’s that! So easy! If you like ranch flavored foods, I think this tangy, garlicky sauce almost tastes ranch-like. So yum!

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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Easy Lobster Roll

An Easy Lobster Roll is a heavenly sandwich with a soft and chewy bun that’s stuffed with cool, fresh lobster salad made from a sweet mayonnaise base.  Every bite is packed with crave-worthy flavor that is light and tasty! If you are obsessed with lobster, also try The Best Lobster Tail or Grilled Cajun Garlic…

Easy Lobster Roll

An Easy Lobster Roll is a heavenly sandwich with a soft and chewy bun that’s stuffed with cool, fresh lobster salad made from a sweet mayonnaise base.  Every bite is packed with crave-worthy flavor that is light and tasty!

If you are obsessed with lobster, also try The Best Lobster Tail or Grilled Cajun Garlic Butter Lobster Tail. They are indulgent and impressive lobster tail recipes that will be a huge hit!

Finished lobster rolls on a white serving plate with chips.

Easy Lobster Rolls

I had my first lobster roll in Boston and it was incredible.   It was an unforgettable meal that was surprisingly easy to recreate at home.  After researching the different varieties of Lobster rolls, I chose this New England Lobster roll, or “lobster salad roll,” because it is so quick and easy to make with only a few simple ingredients and a homemade mayonnaise base. A fresh, thick hoagie roll is loaded with chunks of cold lobster meat and tossed in a creamy mayonnaise mixture. The addition of toppings like fresh lettuce and chives creates the most perfect crunch in every bite.

Working with lobster is easier than you think.  Boiling lobster only takes a few minutes and you can be eating a delicious classic lobster roll in no time at all!  For more detailed directions on how to prepare lobster tails check out The Best Lobster Tails.  These rolls became an instant family favorite that we just couldn’t get enough of!  Your family will go crazy over them too!

Ingredients in Lobster Rolls:

Just a few simple ingredients come together to make an no stress meal that is light and tasty.  Since it is tricky in Utah to find a whole lobster, I used 4 lobster tails to equal a pound.

  • Lobster tails: Select a lobster that feels heavy for its size.
  • Mayonnaise: Combines with the Dijon mustard to make a thick and creamy sauce.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a bold kick of tangy spice.
  • Chives: Chopped chives add mild flavor similar to onion or garlic.
  • Salt and pepper: Used to season the meat to taste.
  • Hoagie rolls: This thick, soft bread holds up well to being loaded with sweet lobster and creamy sauce.
  • Optional: Bib lettuce: Adding lettuce to your roll will give the perfect fresh crunch to each bite.

How to Make a Lobster Roll:

A decadent lobster filled roll is quick and easy to make and is ready in no time!  Simply boil the lobster tail and remove the meat, then toss the meat with the seasonings and creamy mayonnaise and dijon mustard.  In under 15 minutes, you will be ready to build your roll!

  1. Cook Lobster: Bring a large pot to boil. Add the lobster tails and cook for 5-8 minutes until they turn red. Remove from the water and place in an ice bath for 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare Lobster: Remove the lobster from the ice bath and crack the shells and remove the meat. Cut into large chunks.
  3. Stir Lobster Mixture: In a medium sized bowl add the lobster, mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble Rolls: Cut the hoagie rolls and add bib lettuce and stuff with lobster mixture. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Steps to make lobster rolls.

Tips for the BEST Lobster Rolls:

This lobster roll is a New England style roll.  Although there are many ways to build this unforgettable roll, I have gathered the BEST ideas and tips to help you make the perfect lobster roll. Your friends and family will rave about this insanely delicious sandwich!

  • Bread: Do not use hard bread, soft bread only!  Hot dog buns are common in many lobster roll recipes.
  • Serve with: Serve the lobster cold with favorites like potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, grilled corn, or mac and cheese.
  • Do not overcook lobster meat: If you cook the lobster meat too long, it will become chewy and tough.  Instead, stick to the recipe directions and use a meat thermometer to make sure your meat reaches 135-140 degrees.
  • Sauce: Spread the mayonnaise/mustard mixture directly on the bun in addition to or in place of mixing it together with the meat. Make your sandwich drip with the sauce or give it a lighter touch.  This versatile sandwich gives you control over how creamy your sandwich is.
  • Toasted bun: Butter and toast your bun before adding ingredients. The contrast of the cold lobster salad with the warm bread that has a buttery edge will be amazing!

Close up on finished lobster roll.

How to Make a Maine Style Lobster Roll:

Maine style lobster rolls differ from New England Style Lobster rolls because they are served warm and dripping with butter instead of a mayonnaise mixture.  So, instead of putting your lobster into an ice bath, carefully remove the meat from the shells after you boil or steam them.  Then, cut into large chunks and toss with melted butter.  Finally, serve them on a warm, toasted, buttery bun. Yum!

Can You Make Lobster Rolls Ahead?

Yes! Prepare the lobster meat and mayonnaise mixture ahead then refrigerate it for up to 4 days.  If you do not plan to use all the meat right away, the cooked lobster will remain good for 3-4 months in the freezer.   However, do not toss the meat in mayonnaise mixture before freezing.  Instead, freeze the meat separately.  Then, when you are ready to prepare your lobster roll, simply thaw the lobster in the refrigerator.  Once the meat is thawed, toss in the creamy sauce and build your sandwich!

Holding a finished lobster roll.

More Seafood Recipes:

  • Garlic Butter Herb Scallops
  • THEE Best Grilled Shrimp
  • Baja Fish Tacos
  • Slow Cooker Jambalaya
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi
Print

Easy Lobster Roll

An Easy Lobster Roll is a heavenly sandwich with a soft and chewy bun that's stuffed with cool, fresh lobster salad made from a sweet mayonnaise base.  Every bite is packed with crave-worthy flavor that is light and tasty!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword easy lobster roll recipe, lobster roll
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 Rolls
Calories 295kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hoagie rolls
  • optional: bib lettuce

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot to boil. Add the lobster tails and cook for 5-8 minutes until they turn red. Remove from the water and place in an ice bath for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the lobster from the ice bath and crack the shells and remove the meat. Cut into large chunks.
  • In a medium sized bowl add the lobster, mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cut the hoagie rolls and add bib lettuce and stuff with lobster mixture. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 641mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 11mg
Source : The Recipe Critic More   

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