Pasta with chicken, pesto, haricots verts, and sundried tomatoes

This is the first Italian-style dish that I created myself and I’m still making it on a regular basis because it’s so good. It’s not authentic and the odds are against me that an Italian would ever make a similar dish, but who cares as long as it’s good 😉 This is simple home cooking and not haute cuisine. I created this dish in the late nineties because I thought that since pesto goes well with chicken, pesto goes well with haricots verts and pesto goes well with sundried tomatoes, the combination of all of them should be nice. And it work. Since then my cooking has evolved quite a bit. This dish has also evolved: I now use home-made pesto (see yesterday’s post) rather than store-bought and chicken thigh meat rather than chicken breast because it has more flavor, is juicier and just as tender. And in summer when tomatoes are in season I sometimes use my own oven-dried tomatoes. (Drying in the sun is not really an option in the Netherlands.) Just like with original/authentic Italian recipes, the quality of the result will depend on the quality of the ingredients used. So please use fresh haricots verts, not frozen and certainly not canned!


For 2 servings as a main course

225 grams (1/2 pound) boneless and skinless chicken thighs

300 grams (2/3 pounds) fresh haricots verts

150-200 grams (1/3 – 1/2 pound) penne pasta

180 grams (6 oz) home-made pesto

8 sundried tomatoes from a jar with oil or home-made

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Trim any excess fat from the chicken thigh meat.

Cut the meat into smallish cubes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat around 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and briefly sauté the chicken pieces. Turn down the heat to very low as soon as the color or raw chicken is not visible anymore. The chicken will continue to cook over very low heat. This way, the chicken will become cooked through without becoming dry. Turn the chicken pieces occasionally.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Trim the ends off the haricots verts.

Cut the haricots verts in half (such that the size is about the same as the penne pasta) and wash them.

As soon as the water boils, add penne pasta and cook for the time indicated on the package. Add the haricots verts to the same pan and cook them for 8-10 minutes depending on how al dente you like them.

Meanwhile, chop the sundried tomatoes and add to the frying pan with the chicken.

Reserve a bit of cooking water. Drain the pasta and haricots verts and add to the frying pan with the chicken. Add the pesto.

Toss to mix. Add a few tablespoons of the cooking water if the pasta ends up too dry. Serve on preheated plates and sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano to taste.

Wine pairing

Since we usually eat this on weekdays, we don’t often drink wine with it. Since pesto defines most of the taste, I suggest a dry Italian white that goes well with pesto. I once had a Bianco Langhe “Rolando” from Bricco Maiolica that went great with pesto. It is made from a somewhat unusual blend of 50% chardonnay matured in oak and 50% sauvignon matured in stainless steel. The vegetal nose together with the freshness of the sauvignon and the roundness of the chardonnay made it a great match with pesto and a great wine overall.

11 thoughts on “Pasta with chicken, pesto, haricots verts, and sundried tomatoes

      1. I have been thinking about this recipe all day. It really does look amazingly tasty, colorful and chocked full of the BEST pasta-dish ingredients. I never lack for enthusiasm when it comes to fantastic, beautifully presented dishes. 🙂


        1. So I’ve noticed.
          “Hey, I have 4 new WordPress notifications.”
          “LOL. They’re all from Shanna!”

          Seriously though, you should try this pasta dish. With homemade pesto. Even better when you dry your own tomatoes (in the oven), too. This is probably the only dish that I made 15 years ago that I still prepare on a regular basis.


          1. Prepare yourself for another notification! 🙂
            Good news, Stefan. I have homemade basil pesto in the freezer, a huge box of tomatoes and even haricot vert on hand. I think I am being called to make your dish. Abba will thank me forever if I made pasta for *three* days in a row.


            1. Would love to hear how it turns out. I should actually do a new post on the recipe, because I have changed one thing: I now always use boneless skinless chicken thighs, rather than chicken breast. It is more juicy and has more flavor.
              The recipe is best when you cook the chicken only until it is JUST cooked through, so the chicken is moist rather than dry.
              We often eat pasta six days in a row 🙂


              1. Hi, Stefan – I have tomatoes in the oven now and am defrosting my pesto! 🙂 We are both *quite* excited. I agree; boneless thighs are much more succulents than breasts and have more flavor, as well. I will *not* overcook the chicken. I am weighing my pasta now and am debating between 150 and 200 grams. Your ratio of pasta to veggies looks perfect. I have so many great cheeses at the moment, we might be tempted to sprinkle a touch on top… 🙂 Sadly, no Bianco Langhe “Rolando” from Bricco Maiolica on hand!


                1. In terms of flavor, 200 grams of pasta or even more would probably be better in terms of taste, but I’ve been cutting down on the amount of pasta to keep our waistlines in check. I think best for pesto is a mix of pecorino and parmigiano. Also really good with pesto is grenache blanc (white cotes du rhone), but I doubt you have that on hand. Pesto is slightly tricky to pair as a lot of whites will become ‘prickly’ by the pesto. I wouldn’t necessarily say they clash.
                  Would love to hear how it turns out. I’m off to bed now…
                  Buon appetito!


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