- ½ pound penne pasta about 2 1/2 cups dry (half of a one pound box)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized chunks
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half or all milk/cream
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 cup freshly shredded Mozzarella
- ½ cup fresh basil pesto or more, to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish, if desired
1Boil pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
2Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic, italian seasoning and diced chicken breast. Season with salt and pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring chicken a couple of times to brown on all sides. Transfer chicken to a plate and discard any liquid in the skillet.
3Return skillet to the stove over medium heat and melt butter. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, about 3 minutes.
4Whisk in chicken broth and half & half and bring to a boil. If it begins to boil too rapidly, turn the heat down a little. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
5Remove from heat and stir in pesto and cheeses. Add the pasta and chicken and stir to coat. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and fresh cracked black pepper.
Optional add-ins: fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, yellow squash, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes.
The mozzarella can seize up if you don’t get it blended in right away. Mix quickly. You could also try adding half of the mozzarella at a time, stirring well to blend it in each time.