Chicken and pesto pasta bake

Photography by: Photography by Ben Dearnley, styling by Vivien Walsh, food preparation by Nick Banbury

Check out this easy and tasty chicken and pesto pasta bake recipe—a perfect comfort food to help you beat the cold weather blues.

Serves 4-6, prep and cook time 40 minutes

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  • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup (40g) pine nuts
  • ½ cup firmly packed baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup (60g) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 500g penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, extra
  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 100g bocconcini cheese, sliced thinly


  1. Process the 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 the extra oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken; cook over high heat until golden brown and 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.

Not suitable to freeze or microwave.

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