Chicken Pesto Penne

Submitted by Kathy Flatman

Chicken Pesto Penne

When the picture says it all!
5 from 5 votes
Serving: 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes


  • 350g penne pasta
  • 500g chicken fillet thighs diced
  • 5 lg shallots sliced
  • 4 slices short cut bacon finely diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 300ml cooking cream
  • 1 tin cream of chicken soup
  • 190g jar basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes sliced, reserve oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Brown chicken, garlic, bacon and shallots in reserved oil, in a pan if your slow cooker doesn't have a sear function
  • Add all ingredients except pasta, spinach and cheeses. Combine well.
  • Cook on low for 2 hrs
  • Mean while boil pasta until just beginning to soften, drain and let cool.
  • Add pasta to slow cooker, stir through.
  • Place tea towel under the lid
  • Cook on low for approximately 2 hrs or until pasta has expanded and sauce has thickened.
  • Stir in baby spinach leaves.
  • Layer with cheeses.
  • Cook on low until cheese has melted.

58 thoughts on “Chicken Pesto Penne”

  1. Super easy, super tasty! Whole family loved it after coming home from a busy day. I followed the recipe exactly except for leaving out the cheeses (to please my fussy eaters).

  2. I haven’t made this exact recipe, but we eat kosher so cant mix meat and milk so often use either soya cream or more recently I’ve discovered oat cream (and milk by a company called Oatly) There are also various dairy free cheeses from brands like Violife and Tofutti

  3. My Daughter (Miss 20) cooked this the other day and everyone liked it, even the Daughter who cooked it as she doesn’t really like pasta dishes. This is definately on our list of rotations.

  4. Made this today. Was simple and easy.
    Didn’t use as much pesto as stated in the recipe, only used about half the jar, just for personal preference.
    Was very rich, but delicious. Thoroughly enjoyed by the family. Will definitely make again.

  5. 1 cup of grated cheese…….but what kind of cheese??? And has anyone substituted the cream of chicken soup with chicken broth? Thanks!

  6. This is a delicious chicken pasta dish. The basil pesto is a really lovely addition and it’s so easy to make. A real winner!

  7. This recipe has so much flavour I only added half the pesto and was still flavoursome. This is a new favourite for the week. Will be cooking it again soon?

  8. This was very delicious. Enjoyed by all. I added mushrooms , a little minced chillie but otherwise followed the recipe.

  9. Good recipe. Fairly oily but not sure if that was me putting too much cheese or it was partly the soup (as I don’t normally use tinned soups). But hubby and toddler both enjoyed it and I will make it again when I’m wanting a creamy fattening but delicious meal in winter!

  10. So having a read of everyone else’s comments i too decided to add mushrooms, a dollop of mild English mustard and i felt it needed a touch of sweetness so chucked in some corn too!! i didn’t have bacon but i went ahead with it anyway! Delish!! I’m sure it’ll be delish with the bacon too!! I followed the amounts and the flavours weren’t overwhelming, i cut the tomatoes up finely and all my kids enjoyed it!

    10/10 will make again, easy and delicious.

  11. stephanie pollock

    New favourite
    One of the best pasta dishes I’ve tasted.
    Didn’t bother with the cheese at the end
    Also used the condensed cream of chicken. Not sure if that’s right?
    It reheated really well the next day too!

  12. We used chicken breast instead of thighs as they are cheaper. Every one loved this, will definitely be on the favourite list for meals!

  13. Had this for dinner last night. It was amazing ?. I substituted the soup with chicken stock and put uncooked pasta in and added splashes of water when needed. Husband said it was like being in an Italian restaurant

  14. This was yummy! I added extra veges (carrot, corn, capsicum, onion) as I love veges. The next time I make it I will add more tomato and possibly more bacon, yum.

  15. Comfort food at its finest! This was delicious. I added 4 cups (instead of 1 cup) of baby spinach leaves, and will possibly add more next time. It helps tone down the slight oiliness of the dish.

  16. I made this last night
    Omg absolutely delicious
    Oh an next time I need to double the amount cause my family devoured it

  17. Made this last week & it’ll be a new favorite for us! Put mushroom soup in as didn’t have chicken soup. Also cherry tomatoes as run out of dried tomatoes. Plenty of spinach too! Very delicious 🙂

  18. Yum! !!
    I’ve been wanting to cook this for 3 days! So tonight with a 2 hr time frame ( finish work at 4pm, home at 4.20pm, like to eat about 6pm) I was well behind . Soooo….
    About a kilo of chicken thighs diced, 6 rashers of bacon diced, bunch of spring onions chopped and 3 heaped desert spoons of minced garlic (I think). Browned, added pesto and tin of condensed chicken soup. Added cream about half hr in. About 1 hr on high. Pasta cooked to a bit over what recipe asked and added to slow cooker. Another 50 min or so on high, add 3 large handfuls of baby spinach stirred through n about 2 cups grated cheddar n large handful of parmesan cheese spread on top. All on high until melted. Dished up at about 7.15pm . All done in a 7 lt slow cooker that can go on the stove.
    Yep, was yum! Although the better half felt it was a little rich soI have lunch for a few days now! ??

  19. Not a fan of pesto, but since I have to think lunches in advance, & w a packet of chkn thighs that needed to be used up, thought I’d give this a go, & boy, was not disappointed…even hubby, not liking many of my SC meals, gave it a 10 out of 10 , & also have plenty of leftovers for lunches. Winner winner chicken thumbs-up dinner

  20. Absolutely loved this dish. My partner can’t eat tomato so I substituted for red capsicum and served mine with fresh chilli. delish.

  21. Made this today for lunch. Was wonderful!
    After reading some reviews and what my partner said, might substitute the sun dried tomatoes next time. But I was happy as none of the flavours were too overpowering in the dish.
    We actually forgot to do the tea towel method half way through when we added the pasta. But still worked out fine!
    Served five of us with a good big serving of leftovers or two smaller servings for leftovers.

  22. Absolutely delicious, used more spinach just so it didn’t go to waste and used the whole container of sun dried tomatoes. Another one to add to the list of recipes to make again………over and over

  23. I used to buy the ready made at the super market. substituted the spinach for broccoli and peas.Freezes well

  24. Just wow, full of flavour, will be a favourite in our house from now on, wouldn’t modify at all, perfect

  25. What can I use instead of the cream of chicken soup? Do to allergies we can’t have many pre-prepared foods. I saw someone above using chicken broth but how do I get the texture the same? Thanks.

  26. Did it exactly to the recipe except for a couple of additions – mushrooms pumpkin and extra garlic. So ofcourse I was tasting it every so often and at the firs t hour i didn’t like the taste, I am not a huge fan of sundried tomatoes and could only taste that tanginess. Added herb salt and pepper and a bit of chicken stock. Another 1 hr of cooking the taste had died down and it was actually really tasty. Decided at the point when adding pasta that i would add 3 chopped mushrooms to blend it out a bit more. After 2 hrs of that served it and OH asked for seconds and his comments were “tasty” and “full of flavour” I would make it again but half the sundried tomatoes and I think it would still be excellent

  27. Turns out I didn’t have the basil pesto in the pantry so I changed it up a little. Used baby tomatoes instead of su dried and added mushrooms. This is a great meal and the family loved it, will definitely make it again .

  28. Michelle Kosick

    This did not disappoint!
    Great meal for a cold Sunday night.
    Only changes I made to ingredients was to use chunky diced bacon, and chicken breasts (instead of thighs). I also didn’t use any cheese in the cooking process, instead I chose to grate some Parmesan on top after I served it up.
    Will definitely be making this again ??

  29. I have super fussy kids and this is now a regular in our house.
    I don’t put tomatoes or spinach in. And their favourite is when I swap penne for spinach & ricotta ravioli.

  30. OMG – my family loved this – removed the shallots and sun dried tomatoes and added extra bacon – so good!!!

  31. Love this recipe, so easy, instead of basil pesto I used tomato pesto and fry the bacon until crispy and add towards the end, very creamy and tasty.

  32. 5 stars
    Made this today…. Absolutely delicious….even my MIL loved it & she is a fussy eater.
    I browned everying in a frypan (chicken, bacon, garlic & I used spring onions).
    Transferred this to my SC, mixed in the cream of chicken soup, home made basil pesto, Light cooking cream (next time I will use a Skinny Tinny evap milk & ? cornflour to thicken if needed).
    Cooked for 1hr.
    Partially cooked to pasta, drained & when cool added to the chicken mix & added the baby spinach.
    Mixed well & cooked for 1 further hr till pasta al dente. These shortened times are due to the fact that I cooked the chicken thoroughly in my frypan first. So only needed to finish the cooking of the pasta.
    I didn’t do the tea towel method as I felt it didn’t need it. I actually added 1/2 water to loosen it.
    Didn’t end up putting the extra cheese on it as it was perfection already.
    Will definitely be making this one again….

  33. 5 stars
    the whole family love this.
    Used a tin of coconut milk instead and it worked out fine.
    Will definitely use as a go to dinner regularly

  34. This recipe is so tasty. We’ve had it a few times. I use peas instead of spinach. Would it work without the cream? It’s something I can cook from store cupboard Ingredients but don’t always have cream in. Would it work as well?

  35. Claire Roebuck

    5 stars
    Had this for dinner last night. It was amazing ?. I substituted the soup with chicken stock and put uncooked pasta in and added splashes of water when needed. Husband said it was like being in an Italian restaurant x

  36. I made this last night. I don’t eat….like cream usually and haven’t used pesto previously….. this was delicious.
    I will definitely make again.

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