Dinner in 20 minutes: A delicious pesto chicken pasta recipe

Pesto Pasta
Natalia Brusco/Staff

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In my Italian household, pasta is a common dish. Spaghetti with marinara, linguine with butter, farfalle with alfredo — you name a pasta dish and we’ve definitely had it. However, my personal favorite is our delicious and unconventional pesto pasta. 

Following my recipe below, in just 20 minutes, you can whip this dish up yourself. So head into the kitchen yourself or with your family, and cook with love. 

Servings: 4


  • 1 russet potato
  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders (or a roasted chicken from your local grocer)
  • ½ cup any basil pesto
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. Peel and dice up the potato.
  2. Boil a pot of water, and add both the linguine and the diced potatoes.
  3. To a skillet, add the olive oil and the chicken. Cook the chicken thoroughly, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Before draining the pasta and potatoes, save ¼ cup of the water and put it to the side.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked and the potatoes are tender, strain them.
  7. Add the basil pesto, the reserved pasta water, the pasta, the potatoes and the chicken to the skillet. Mix everything together.
  8. Top your dish with Parmesan cheese, serve immediately and enjoy!

If you stopped at “potato” on the ingredients list, you are not alone. You may think that this extra starch would ruin the dish; however, it is quite the contrary — the potato adds extra starch to the pasta water, helping to bind the sauce and absorb excess oil from the pesto. This addition of potatoes to pasta is the Italian pasta secret no one talks about. Until now … enjoy!

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].