Chicken Pesto Parmesan Pasta Skillet
I know it’s winter, but something about the new year makes me crave bright, fresh Spring flavors like the ones in this Chicken Pesto Parmesan Pasta Skillet. Don’t you just love basil, lemon and Parmesan together? Especially with garlic and toasted pine nuts and even more so over chicken, pasta and fresh green vegetables? I know I do. This pasta skillet comes together and using cooked chicken, it all comes together in one pot! I love one-pot meals. Especially when a hearty, filling serving is just 335 calories or 9 Green, 8 Blue or 4 Purple myWW SmartPoints! To view your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
This meal made me feel like I was eating in a restaurant and I couldn’t believe it was light. There’s a pesto cheese sauce! Trust me, you’re going to love this one. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chicken since it uses pre-cooked breasts. If you don’t happen to have cooked chicken on hand you can grill some, throw in in the slow cooker, bake it or just buy a cooked rotisserie breast. Whatever is easiest for you!
Looking for more lightened up pasta options? Check out the pasta section of my recipe index for favorites like Beef Stroganoff, Beefy American Goulash, Slow Cooker Kickin’ Chicken Pasta, Beef and Sausage Manicotti, Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini Skillet, Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna Roll Ups, Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake, Tomato Soup Mac & Cheese, Spaghetti Pie, Sausage Tortellini Skillet, Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups, Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells, Spicy Sausage Pasta and many more!
Chicken Pesto Parmesan Pasta Skillet
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¾ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 oz uncooked bowtie pasta, I used Barilla Farfalle (use whole wheat pasta if following the myWW Purple plan)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 8 oz cooked boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
- 4 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Place the pine nuts in a large saute pan or deep skillet and bring over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until pine nuts start to look golden/toasted. Remove the pine nuts from heat.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the toasted pine nuts (reserve one for topping) with the basil, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and grind it until a pesto paste forms and everything is finely minced and combined. Set aside.
- Place the dry pasta in the same large saute pan or deep skillet from step one and pour in the water and milk. Stir in the salt and top with the broccoli, zucchini and peas. Turn the heat on to medium and stay by the stove, stirring occasionally and watching closely for the contents to begin to simmer. *Pan should remain uncovered. Make sure you don’t wander away, you do not want the contents to boil and spill over or for the milk to get overheated and separate* When you see the liquid start to simmer, reduce the heat to low.
- Cook the mixture on low, stirring every couple minutes, for 13-16 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed (pasta and veggies will be cooked). Add the cooked chicken pieces and the pesto from step two and stir in until well combined. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almost all of the shredded Parmesan (I like to reserve a tiny pile for topping). Cover the pan with a lid for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and then stir until well combined and cheesy. Top each serving with a sprinkle of the reserved Parmesan and ½ teaspoon of the reserved pine nuts.
9 per (1 ¼ cup) serving (PP calculated using a WW PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition info below)
OK, this sounds and looks amazing, but I have one incredibly stupid question. How will I know when it has begun to simmer? Thanks!
Not stupid! Simmering is the state a liquid will reach before boiling. The liquid will show some movement and will begin to bubble (but not reach constant rapid bubbles like boiling). I hope that helps!
This looks really good. I don’t have much time to cook, and try not to buy ingredients that I won’t use too often, like pine nuts. If I were to use commercially prepared pesto, how much do you think I would use? And also, do you think the points would change?
Thanks so much, Emily!
The points would definitely change dramatically as commercially prepared pesto is generally very high in fat. I definitely recommend buying the pine nuts (they come in small amounts when I buy them anyway) but you can substitute another nut if you prefer.
I just wanted to tell you that I made this tonight and it was amazing! Totally felt indulgent but wasn’t! Thanks for helping a girl out on her Weight Watcher journey!
I’m so happy to hear you loved it! <3
Just made this for dinner tonight. It’s delicious and so easy and quick to make!
I’m so glad you loved it Nancy!
Made this for dinner earlier this week and it was DELISH! I’ve been eating the leftovers for lunch and I’m still loving it! Thanks for the great recipes! Makes following WW much easier! 🙂
I’m so thrilled you love it! 🙂
I made this for dinner this weekend since I had to work 3 days in a row. It was so good and so easy! One of my favorites I’ve tried from your website so far.
I’m so happy you loved it! Thanks for letting me know 🙂
I thought this looked really good because I like this kind of thing. First night was OK but wasn’t crazy about it but when I warmed it up the next day a flavor (?) came out that I didn’t like and I couldn’t eat anymore but my friend loved it and so I gave the rest to her and so it is just me. I love all the recipes you come up with.
Wonderful and easy. I think you could substitute asparagus for the broccoli for variety. My husband loved it, too.
What other kind of nut would work in place of the pine nuts?
I’m just wondering if there is something to use in place of the milk? Would almond milk or some other liquid work? Thanks