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Pesto Chicken Penne

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings
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200 grams (7 ounces) fresh basil leaves

100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) Parmesan, grated

100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) pine nuts, toasted

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 green chile, seeded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

160 milliliters (2/3 cup) olive oil, plus more for covering pesto

Chicken and Penne:

500 grams (18 ounces) penne

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 tablespoon dried Italian mixed herbs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

250 grams (9 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Parmesan shavings, to serve

Fresh basil leaves, to serve

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.


  1. For the pesto: Place the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, green chile and some salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth and well combined. Add the oil in a steady thread until you have a thick pesto. Transfer to a sterilized jar and cover with a layer of olive oil to seal. Store in the fridge until needed.
  2. For the chicken and penne: Cook the penne in the boiling water to al dente, according to the package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the pesto oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic for 1 minute. Add the chicken strips, dried Italian herbs and some salt and pepper and fry until almost cooked through, around 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the penne and rinse briefly in cold water. Add to the saucepan with enough pesto to coat the pasta and chicken. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix. Finish with Parmesan shavings and basil leaves, and serve while still warm.