Creamy chicken, pea & pesto pasta recipe

ChickenPeaPestoPasta1 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

My tax law lecturer at university used to say:  “There are only two certainties in this life: death and taxes” – but I  beg to differ.  There is also the certainty that at any given moment on any given day, somewhere in the world, if you turn on the TV an episode of CSI or Friends will be showing. Seriously, I think it’s some sort of universal law, up there with gravity.

I was reminded of this universal law yesterday morning by a newspaper item about re-watching movies.  Rather like Universal Law of CSI, the writer said that we are witnessing the death of original programming and entering the Epoch of the Re-run.  His theory is that not a single week goes by without Escape from New York, Die Hard or  Jurassic Park being screened at least once on British television.  I can’t say for sure whether he is right or wrong, but I can attest to many nights of casual channel surfing and coming across a movie I have seen a dozen times, and which I probably already own on DVD… and yet somehow the lure of watching it is simply too strong. The article made some interesting points about re-watching movies – why in some cases this provides no added benefit at all e.g. where it’s all about the unexpected plot twist!), and in others becomes a compulsion.  So why do we re-watch movies?  Some movies and characters are so multi-layered and complex that they reveal something fresh to the viewer each time they are watched. Others remind you of a happy time in your life or induce specific feelings of happiness each time they are watched. And others movies are re-watched simply for the comfort of the familiar; films where you can recite whole tracts of the script and are secure in the knowledge that the story will end exactly as you remember it – a comforting feeling in an increasingly uncertain world. No matter what, I will never pass up an opportunity to watch The Matrix trilogy, Dirty Dancing, Bladerunner, Ghostbusters, Out of Africa, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Footloose, Amadeus or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. What films can you watch over and over again?

Peas © J Horak-Druiff 2013


In a similar way, there are some dishes that I make once, and even if they are delicious, I can tell you almost as soon as I put the dishes in the dishwasher that I will never make them again.  Then, on the other hand, there are those dishes that I have been making on average once a week since I left home.  They are usually not big, clever or showy dishes, but they are tasty, they don’t take long to put together on a weeknight, and I usually have the ingredients to hand. Chicken vegetable stir-fry falls in this category, as does grilled teriyaki (or cajun) salmon or spicy lentils with feta and mushrooms.  And because Nick is a huge fan of pasta, I wooed him with pasta and have been making him some or other pasta dish for dinner pretty much every week since we met back in 1998. When we were broke, my go-to dish was pasta in a creamy tomato sauce (basically a tin of chopped tomatoes stirred into a white sauce) but the go-to dish soon morphed into a pesto-based pasta sauce.  Sometimes it’s pesto with cream and mushrooms; sometimes it’s pesto with baby plum tomatoes – or sometimes it is this creamy pesto, chicken and pea sauce.

It’s super easy to put together and other than the cream, it’s made with ingredients I always have on hand somewhere in the house (frozen peas work as well as fresh ones).  It feels a little indulgent, but it’s light enough to have in the summer (and it’s pretty tasty served cold as a pasta salad too!).  You’d be crazy not to put it on permanent dinner rotation in your house too – you can thank me later 😉   Do you have any dishes that you make over and over again? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Other bloggers cooking pasta include:

ChickenPeaPestoPastaFinal © J Horak-Druiff 2013


5.0 from 2 reviews
Creamy chicken pea & pesto pasta recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe can be made almost entirely from store cupboard and freezer ingredients - and it's both satisfying and delicious. No wonder it's on permanent dinner rotation in my house!
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
  • enough pasta for 2 people (I used strozzapreti pasta which really grips the sauce)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¾ cup fresh (or frozen) peas
  • a little flour
  • 125ml single cream
  • 2-generous Tbsp basil pesto
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated Parmiggiano cheese to serve
  1. Prepare the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan and add the shallots and garlic. Sautée over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the cubed chicken. Continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are soft and translucent (but do NOT brown them).
  3. Add the peas and continue stirring for a few minutes. When the peas start to soften, stir in the flour – enough so that all the liquid in the pan is absorbed. Stir constantly to prevent lumps.
  4. Stir in the cream a little at a time, stirring continuously, then stir in the pesto and mix well. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water.
  5. When the sauce has reached the desired consistency, turn off the heat, check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  6. Drain the pasta and return it to the cooking pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Divide the pasta among two serving bowls and serve.





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  1. says

    My favourite pasta is virtually identical to this, but I use sundried tomatoes instead of peas (yes, I refuse to believe that the heyday of sundried tomatoes is over!). And you are completely right. Pesto Princess’s basil pesto makes everything better. Everything.

  2. says

    It will not come as a surprise that I too can watch The Matirx, Footloose, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape but also The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future and Flashdance again and again. And I agree … Friends and some episode of CSI is always on German TV too. I think this could become a dish that I eat over and over too. Awesome flavors.

  3. says

    We are inveterate re-watchers of movies, re-readers of books and I certainly do repeat a whole load of favourite dishes, sometimes too reliably!
    Movies: The Thomas Crown Affair, You’ve Got Mail, Bladerunner and too many more to mention. Books: pretty much any book we enjoy the first time is good to re-read in a year or two, but they have to be character driven and well-written, with nuances of language to savour all over again.
    And dishes: there are three chicken staples that take turns in our house, chicken korma, a grilled chicken with mustard and vinegar and an Italian lemon chicken.

    I love pesto, but none of my family agree, which is a real shame as it’s such a great emergency stand-by. I obviously didn’t train them right from babies!

  4. says

    ha ha ha ha do you know that I actually said to JP (when I pulled up the tv guide to see what was showing that night) “What? CSI again? It is on every single night!” Sad, isn’t it? Or should I say “tragic”!

    We do make certain dishes over and over again: pizza, couscous, tagine, grilled lamb with salad. I love your simple but good recipe and I should rethink my quick meals repertoire to include dishes like this one. Easy peasy and certainly tasty!

  5. says

    That is so funny – we’re in Copenhagen for the weekend, turned on the tv and – wow! – it’s Friends, the episode where Joey and Chandler stop living together…

  6. says

    I love watching my favorite movies again and again! My favorites to watch on a rainy Sunday would be Notting Hill or Love actually and when I’m in the mood for something a little less romantic I’d love to watch the Matrix too (only the first one though, can’t stand the rest!) and disaster movies like 2012 or the day after tomorrow…:) As for dishes, I think my favorite pasta dishes are very very similar to the one you show here and I love using that to clean out leftover veggies I’m the fridge!

  7. Alexandra says

    Made this today for my family I just quadrupled the recipe I was a bit worried how it would turn out since I was making so much more but it turned out AMAZING I just had to add a little more flour so that it wasn’t so runny. Thank you for sharing my littles gobbled it up.