Chicken Pesto Pasta – AKA Ally Special Dinner

Earlier this month, my best friend since 5th grade, Ally, left her icy home in Maine to attend the almost-as-cold Women’s March down in Washington D.C. with our friend Beth, and you know what THAT meant?


It meant that I was able to see her! WOO HOO! I was SO excited, and it was awesome getting to pick her up at the airport, have dinner with both Ally and Beth, and then spend the day together, all 3 of us, on Sunday. It was awesome. It’s always awesome when besties get together after time apart.

The last time Ally was here, she introduced me to one of her favorite meals to cook at home, simply called “Ally Special Dinner.”

chicken pesto pasta

What, pray tell, is Ally Special Dinner? Well, as she described, it was chicken, roasted red peppers, farfalle (bow tie) pasta, pesto sauce, goat cheese and broccoli. Player… That sounded SO good, I could almost taste it. I couldn’t wait to recreate this dish for my family. And guess what? IT WAS AMAZING. My boys LOVED this dish, and so did I. I couldn’t wait to make it again, and in light of her return to B’more, I decided it would be as good a time as any. 

I cut 2 large (about 1.3 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cubes, and tossed them with salt, pepper, basil and crushed red pepper flakes. This wasn’t part of the instructions, but I went with it. 

chicken pesto pasta

I then sautéed about 5 cloves of garlic, chopped, in some olive oil. While that got going, I got a pot of boiling water started and I julienned some roasted red peppers, chopped up some blanched broccoli, and got my goat cheese, and pesto ready. 

easy chicken pesto pasta easy chicken pesto pasta easy chicken pesto pasta easy chicken pesto pasta

I threw the chicken in with the garlic, gave it a stir, and let that cook. I then added the peppers and broccoli to the mix. When the pasta was cooked, I threw that in with the chicken, then added the pesto and the goat cheese. Everything combined beautifully, and everything smelled insanely good. 

easy chicken pesto pasta

I made too much, but I have to say, none of it went to waste. It was amazing as leftovers for lunch. Seriously good. The goat cheese melted in with the pesto to create a bold, fresh, earthy and tangy sauce that was TO DIE FOR. The roasted peppers gave it a smolderingly sweet flavor, and the broccoli added texture. The pasta choice here was perfect for the sauce to cling to, and it all in all was a truly spectacular dish that will be added to our dinner-time arsenal. 

easy chicken pesto pasta

Ally Special Dinner was a HUGE hit with the kids too. Jack ate a bunch of pasta cut up small, and Major cleared his plate FAST, giving it two thumbs up. Honestly? If the 8-year-old boy says it’s good, then it’s good.

easy chicken pesto pasta

Want to make it for yourself? I don’t blame you! Thank you Bestie Ally for this insanely delicious recipe, and for allowing me to share it with the world! 

Ally Special Dinner // Chicken Pesto Pasta
A delicious take on Chicken Pesto Pasta
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  1. 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  2. 1 - 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  3. 1 - 2 roasted red peppers, sliced thin
  4. 1.5 cups broccoli, chopped
  5. 1 box of farfalle bowtie pasta
  6. 1 8 oz jar of pesto sauce
  7. 1 package of plain goat cheese
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  9. salt
  10. pepper
  11. basil
  12. crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Coat chicken with salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes - a few shakes each.
  2. Sautee the garlic in some EVOO over med-low heat in a larges pan/skillet.
  3. Have a pot of salted water boiling for the pasta on a separate burner
  4. Add the chicken to the pan with the garlic. Stir.
  5. Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the peppers and the broccoli.
  6. Cook the pasta for a little bit less than the allotted time on the package, roughly 10-12 minutes.
  7. When the pasta is done cooking, and the chicken is no longer pink on the inside, drain the pastas and combine with the chicken. Toss to combine thoroughly.
  8. Pour the pesto in. Stir to combine.
  9. Add the goat cheese in crumbles to evenly distribute. The cheese will melt and become part of the sauce.
  10. Stir and let cook together for 5-10 minutes.
  11. Voila!
Adapted from Ally Hager
Adapted from Ally Hager
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Katie Ogletree is the creator, writer and photographer of Slow Down and Savor, a food and lifestyle blog based out of Baltimore, MD. She is a graduate of Texas State University with a degree in Mass Communication, a wife of an amazing guy, and mother of two wonderful boys, a beautiful girl, and three gorgeous kitties. She loves exploring Baltimore City and is excited to see what it’s all about through its food, and those that make it. She is a self-professed foodie of all classifications, from fine dining and conceptual fare to the simplest and sometimes messiest bar food around, and absolutely loves sharing it with anyone she can. Thanks for visiting Slow Down and Savor!
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