Red pesto is one of my favorite things to use with pasta. While I will always love the classic, sometimes red is the way to go. In this recipe for red pesto pasta with grilled chicken and mozzarella I use red pesto with a bit of cream for a sauce that is packed with flavor.
The recipe for red pesto is not that much different from the classic green pesto. The version we are most familiar with comes from Genoa and has basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and pecorino. Red pesto, which comes from Sicily, has all the same stuff but with the addition of sun dried tomatoes and cashews (optional).
As for the pasta, I used farfalle which is just what I happened to have on hand. I think this would be just as good with penne, or even spaghetti if you so desired. The grilled chicken was just a chicken breast grilled with salt and pepper until cooked. Overall this is a pretty simple recipe, and one that I made at about 1am after 12 hours at the local bar.
I like using chicken breast when using chicken for pasta recipes because it is easy to make quickly. There are no bones to worry about and it just acts as a protein to add to an otherwise carb heavy dish. It’s just seasoned with salt and pepper because the real star of the show is the red pesto sauce.
I make my red pesto in large batches but to be honest you can just use store bought. Since this recipe only calls for about 2 tablespoons there’s really no reason to make your own unless you plan to do a large amount. If you do want to make your own though, just make a regular green pesto and then chuck in about 50% of the weight in sun dried tomatoes.
Red Pesto Pasta With Grilled Chicken And Mozzarella
- 300 grams Pasta I used farfalle, but you can use any pasta you prefer
- 2 tbsp Red Pesto homemade or store bought
- 50 ml Heavy Cream
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 100 grams Mozzarella
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes optional
- Season both sides of your chicken breast with salt and pepper and then put it in a skillet or pan on medium high heat. About 4 minutes a side. At the same time as it is cooking set a pot of boiling salted water on another burner.
- Remove the chicken and set aside. Put pasta in the boiling water (mine took 6 minutes for al dente, but check yours to see if the time should change). Back in the pan, turn the heat down low and add the red pesto. Let it fry a bit in the residual chicken oil.
- Add the heavy cream and stir everything up. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. As this is a cream based sauce now you don't need to add pasta water. Taste the sauce for seasoning, then plate the pasta.
- Slice the chicken breast and some mozzarella and put it on top of the pasta. Sprinkle on some red chili flakes if you want to make it a bit spicy.