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Red Pesto Pasta in bowls on a counter

Red Pesto Pasta

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


Switch up your usual pesto and pasta dinner with this amazing red pesto pasta! Quick, easy and so delicious. Choose to use ready-made red pesto or make it from scratch. 

The default recipe serves one


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, skinless and boneless (around 125g / 4.5oz), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 85g pasta, such as farfalle (pictured)
  • 68 cherry tomatoes (around 100g / 3.5oz), halved
  • 46 fresh basil leaves
  • 15g / 0.5oz freshly grated parmesan

For the red pesto (alternatively use 2 tbsp of ready-made red pesto)

  • 25g sundried tomatoes (use the type in oil, not fully dehydrated ones)
  • 23 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10g / 1 tbsp whole pine nuts
  • 10g / 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Bring a pan of heavily salted water to a boil and heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan/skillet.
  2. Pat dry the chicken breast with kitchen towel and season one side with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil, seasoned side down, and leave to sear for 5-6 minutes. Season the other side of the breast and flip it over and cook for a further 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the inside of the meat is 75C/165F. 
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover it with a  little foil. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Leave the frying pan/skillet within reach as you’ll use it again. 
  4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and set a time for the time indicated on the packet. 
  5. 5 minutes before the pasta is ready add another splash of oil to the frying pan/skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes to the oil and heat through until they start to soften. 
  6. Retain a little of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the frying pan/skillet with a little of the reserved water and pesto. Toss everything together and add the chicken breast and heat through. Season to taste.
  7. Remove the pasta from the heat. Tear in the basil and grate over the parmesan. Serve and enjoy.


    1. Grate the parmesan cheese yourself. If you buy pre-grated cheese the additives which are used to stop it from clumping can actually stop it from melting as well
    2. Don’t skip the step to reserve a little of the pasta water – it really helps to get the pesto clinging to the pasta! 
    3. You can substitute the parmesan for another hard cheese, such as pecorino.
    4. Pan sear the chicken over high heat to get a great, deep colour on the surface. 
    5. Resting the chicken will help make it extra tender as it allows the juices to redistribute. 
    6. Fresh basil is a must for this recipe! So don’t be tempted to switch for dried. 
    7. Leftover pesto can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Pour oil over the pesto before refrigerating or freezing to prevent air from getting to the sauce and causing browning. 
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Hob / Stove
    • Cuisine: Italian


    • Serving Size: 1
    • Calories: 745
    • Fat: 28.6g
    • Carbohydrates: 65g
    • Protein: 48g

    Keywords: pasta, italian, pesto, parmesan, dinner, chicken, quick, easy