Chicken & Linguine in Pesto Cream Sauce

Home sweet home, how I've missed you. The past two weeks have been on a non-stop ride of social events, meals out and food on the go that by the time I get home, I'm in pajamas ready for bed. The craziness of my recent comings and goings have made me miss home cooked meals and just being in the kitchen. So now that my schedule has slowed down back to normal, I'm wearing an apron and behind the stove once again. For dinner, I opted for something comforting, like pasta. This Chicken & Linguine in Pesto Cream Sauce definitely hit the spot. I loved the velvety texture of bright and flavorful pesto that's mellowed by the smooth, creamy Parmesan sauce.

When it comes to pasta, I usually just resort to dry {gluten free} pasta since it's readily available. But I've been excited to find that fresh gluten free pasta is available too at a local grocery store. The RP Pasta brand has a few fresh gf pasta options and for this dish, I used their fresh spinach linguine. Feel free to use whatever pasta you prefer - it doesn't have to be linguine, any pasta will do. The key star of this dish is the pesto cream sauce. It's like a combination of alfredo and pesto, which is delicious (especially with salmon!). Some shortcuts for busy folks... substitute the boneless, skinless chicken breast with a cooked rotisserie chicken and used the breast portion, shredding it for this recipe.

Chicken & Linguine in Pesto Cream Sauce
recipe adapted from Emeril

1 pound linguine (fresh or dry)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago + more for serving
1 tomato, seeded and finely diced

Cook the pasta per package directions until tender, but with a bit of resistance (al dente), about 12 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto cream sauce. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted, season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder and add the chicken to the pan. Sear the chicken about 3-5 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, shred chicken with your hands or 2 forks.

Add the onions into the pan and saute until softened and lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, pesto and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the shredded chicken, al dente linguine and the reserved cooking water to the pan and cook, tossing to incorporate for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and add the 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and toss to blend.

Garnish with chopped fresh tomatoes, cheese and serve immediately.


  1. This sounds amazing. I love pesto, it has such a bright and vibrant flavor. I never thought of pairing tomatoes and pesto together in pasta though, may have to make this to use up my linguine.

  2. Pasta and pesto are among of my soft spots. Creamy and yummy... drooling and hungry... Can't wait to try this =)