This creamy chicken pesto pasta is so easy made in the Instant Pot, and the flavor is incredible. Seasoned chicken cooked with seasoned pasta that is then finished with Parmesan, Ricotta, and Mozzarella cheese, pesto, and spinach thrown in to get your veggies this will be on the table quickly. If you have room for dessert afterwards be sure to check out my Instant Pot Pineapple Upside Down Cake that is made from scratch!
What is pesto?
Pesto is a pasta sauce that has it's origins in the Genoa region of Italy. The sauce is usually made with garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese all blended together with olive oil. Whether you're eating it with gnocchi, pasta, ravioli, or making a green lasagna this classic sauce doesn't disappoint. According to this article at Saveur after milk the first thing a baby is given in Italy is pesto! If you would like to learn more please be sure to check it out.
Prep the ingredients for pesto chicken pasta
Take your boneless skinless chicken breasts, and cut in half length-wise then slice into chunky pieces. Lightly season the chicken pieces with a Creole seasoning like Tony Cachere's (note I am not being compensated in a way for this post) or your favorite blackening seasoning then set aside. Dice one onion.
Set the Instant Pot to saute, and once hot add in a little olive oil. Cook the diced onions for a few minutes then add the minced garlic to saute for a minute or until fragrant. Next add in the seasoned chicken pieces to the pot. Cook for a few minutes to sear to lock in the flavor and keep the seasoning on the chicken.
Cooking the pesto chicken pasta
Once you sear the chicken add the chicken broth to the pot along with the pasta. Add to this the Italian herb seasoning, pepper, and ground red pepper. Stir everything together well. I used four cups of broth because my chicken were huge, you can reduce this amount now or leave it until after it is cooked. Just be sure to push the chicken and pasta down until mostly covered. Any 11-12 minute pasta should work for this recipe.
Seal the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Once done perform a quick release in short bursts to control any sort of extra mess that might want to cover your counters. I drained off about a half of cup of liquid. If you feel like you need to drain more this is the time to do so.
Add the Ricotta, Parmesan, and Mozzarella cheeses along with pesto. Stir well, and put the Instant Pot on saute to help with the melting. If the pot gets to hot you can always turn it off.
Add the spinach and stir in. Cover the top of the pressure cooker, and let the spinach wilt. If there isn't enough heat then turn on saute for a minute then turn off to cover. Yes, that is a plate! LOL The bonus here is that once it's done the cook can wipe off the bottom and eat immediately! 😉
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week. Some fun add-ins to do would be to add sliced grape tomatoes, bacon, or switch up the cheeses to your favorite Italian cheeses!
Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut diaganolly, and then sliced
- ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning can use blackening seasoning
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian Herb seasoning
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni or any 11-12 minute pasta
- ½ cup prepared pesto can increase if desired
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- Toss the chicken pieces with the Creole seasoning. Dice the onion. Set the Instant Pot to saute and add in some oil. Add to this the onion, and cook a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds or until fragrant. Add the seasoned chicken pieces and saute a few minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, pasta, Italian Herb seasoning, pepper, and red pepper. Stir together and cover the pasta. Broth can be reduced by ½ cup if it seems like to much.
- Seal the lid on the the pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for six minutes. Once done follow with a quick release in short bursts.
- Add the remaining ingredients and put on saute. Stir until the cheese is melted. Stir in the spinach, and cover the pressure cooker with a lid or plate to wilt. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.