Pistachio Basil Pesto Pasta

Basil and Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Toss hot, cooked fusilli with a homemade pistachio pesto for a refreshing twist on traditional pine nut–based pesto dishes. Fresh lemon juice lends a great flavor boost. This main dish is best served immediately after tossing, so reserve pasta and pesto separately for latecomers to toss themselves.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 434 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces uncooked fusilli or rotini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup)


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat or turn oven on broil.

  2. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray or on a baking sheet set under the broiler. Grill/broil  5 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes; slice chicken into ½-inch-thick strips.

  3. Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

  4. Drop garlic through food chute with food processor on; process until minced. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, pistachios, lemon juice, and oil; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Transfer pesto to a large bowl; stir in reserved 1/4 cup pasta water and cheese. Add chicken and pasta; toss gently to coat.