Pesto Pasta With Chicken, Asparagus & Arugula

April 25, 2011 by Ali

A few weeks ago, I asked the guys at work if they had any suggestions for a new blog recipe. Without missing a beat, my coworker, Kevin, insisted that I must try their family’s famous pesto pasta dish. He claimed it was his absolute “favorite”, and that it always disappeared pretty much instantly whenever it was made.

Of course, being the carb-loving girl that I am, I’m never one to turn down pasta — especially when pesto is involved. So after he emailed me the recipe, I rounded up the ingredients and gave it a go! Although, I did make one last-minute change at the grocery store, nixing the bell peppers the recipe called for (I’m weird – not a big fan of peppers in pasta), and instead decided to throw in some fresh baby arugula. (But if you’re a pepper fan, Kevin says that they are amazing!) :)

Well, for any of you who might be doubtful (like I admittedly was) that this simple list of ingredients could yield such a home run….doubt no more. This pasta is AMAZING! For whatever reason, the ingredient combination totally just worked. The pesto of course gave everything a base of great flavor, but the asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and arugula combination sent this over the top. Oh so tasty. (Seriously, I’m not usually one to get excited about leftovers, but actually stretched this batch for 4 meals!!) The fun thing is that this recipe also transitions perfectly into being a cold pasta salad.

So if you’re looking for a super-flavorful, super-delicious new pasta recipe, I highly recommend giving this one a try! Thanks, Kevin and Tracy!

Pesto Pasta with Chicken, Asparagus & Arugula

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings


  • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used campanelle)
  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes, drained (reserve 2 Tbsp. oil)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or storebought
  • 2-3 cups baby arugula
  • freshly-grated or shaved Parmesan


Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Then add the pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes (or you can use plain olive oil) over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the asparagus and sprinkle with freshly-ground black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add in the (now drained) sundried tomatoes, and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes, or until asparagus are done. Then remove from heat.

When pasta is done, drain the excess water from the pot. Then add in the asparagus/tomatoes, pesto, chicken, arugula, and pesto, and toss until well-combined. Sprinkle with shaved or grated Parmesan.

Either serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Ali’s Tip:

This would be even better with some toasted pine nuts thrown in. Yum!

filed in Chicken, Entrees, Pastas

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

Leave a Reply


14 thoughts on “Pesto Pasta With Chicken, Asparagus & Arugula

  1. This dish is so beautiful colors, a pity to eat it so as not to spoil the whole composition.

    - Pasta-recipes

  2. I made this tonight & it was so yummy. I love all the flavors in this dish. It was super easy to make. Thanks for sharing :-)

    - DeAngela

  3. Thanks for all the recipes. I’m gonna try these soon. Mom

    - Holly Burks

  4. GREAT recipe! I made a tweaked version for a vegetarian BBQ we hosted a while back. (My hubby is allergic to pine nuts, so I substituted pistachio nuts for the pesto.)

    Thanks so much for posting – it was seriously one the biggest hits of the night. :)

    - Adj (Tattoos & Champagne)

  5. I made this recipe last night and it was AMAZING! Super, super easy and delicious! It took very little time to throw everything together. I substituted fresh spinach for the arugula and next time, I might add fresh mushrooms to the asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes while they sautee.

    - VSlone

  6. Love this recipe. Gorgeous colors. I went ahead and featured you and this recipe on my weekly Foodie Friday post today. Check it out! Happy Friday. :)

    - Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique

  7. love this receipe! made it last night for my boyfriend, super easy! the pesto was amazing!

    - Amy

  8. This looks amazing – can’t wait to try it. Will be great to use when cherry tomatoes are going crazy this summer.

    - Linda

  9. YUM! My mom is coming to visit on Mother’s Day and I’m making dinner…she loves pasta so this might be the perfect thing!

    - natalie (the sweets life)

  10. This definitely looks great with all those colors in the picture. I will have to try it!

    - Tessa

  11. What a pretty dish and it sounds wonderful too!! I have never made a homemade pesto (I just don’t really cook anything, I need some lessons!) but I LOVE pesto so I may just try this one!

    - McKenzie

  12. That looks great. The produce market near my house sells basil at a very good price in the summer. We usually make up a whole mess of pest and freeze it in ice cube trays to use throughout the year. Good use of arugula.

    - George

  13. Such gorgeous flavours! Yum.

    - leaf (the indolent cook)