Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken


Strozzapreti, “priest strangler” in Italian, are fun, twisty short pasta. Other short types, like farfalle, fusilli, orecchietti, and rotelle (“wagon wheels”) work well here, too. The combination of spinach and basil makes for a healthy, bright green pesto, and ricotta salata—a fresh-tasting, mildly salty cheese—adds a slightly nutty touch. To boost your protein intake, add some of that easy roasted chicken you made the other day and you've got an easy dinner recipe that's delicious hot or cold. 

Recipe adapted from "A Bird in the Oven (And Then Some)" by Mindy Fox.

Servings:4 servings


coarse salt
1 bunch spinach, tough stems removed
1 cup packed Fresh Basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 garlic clove, peeled
fine sea salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound strozzapreti (or other short pasta)
2 1/2 cups roasted chicken, finely shredded, at room temperature
good quality extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, very thinly sliced
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. 
  2. In a food processor, combine the spinach, basil, pine nuts, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow and steady stream; pulsing until smooth. 
  3. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, then add it back to the pot off the heat. 
  4. Immediately add the pesto and chicken, and stir to combine thoroughly. Moisten with 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid, or more, if desired.
  5. Serve immediately, drizzled with a touch of good oil and topped with the cheese and extra salt to taste.
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes