Recipe

Chicken and pesto pasta bake

This hearty pasta bake is a perfect weeknight dinner for a hungry family. Packed full of tender chicken, fragrant homemade basil pesto and oozy melted cheese - it's everything you want in a dish.

  • 15 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Ingredients

Chicken and pesto pasta bake
  • 2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup (40g) pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (60g) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 500 gram penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, extra
  • 500 gram chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 100 gram bocconcini cheese, sliced thinly

Method

Chicken and pesto pasta bake
  • 1
    Make pesto: Process basil, garlic, pine nuts and spinach in a small blender or food processor until chopped finely. With motor operating, add oil in a thin steady stream until combined. Stir in half the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2
    Cook pasta in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water until just tender. Drain pasta.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, heat extra oil in a medium frying pan. Add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and just cooked through.
  • 4
    Preheat oven grill on high heat.
  • 5
    Toss pesto through the pasta and chicken in a large bowl; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place pasta mixture in a large ovenproof dish; top with remaining parmesan and bocconcini. Grill for a few minutes or until cheese is melted and parmesan is golden.
  • 6
    Serve sprinkled with extra basil leaves, if desired.

Notes

Not suitable to freeze or microwave.

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