Pollo pasta with pesto – Friday night sorted

Pollo chicken

If I’m going to cheat on my diet then I’m most susceptible on a Friday night when I’m tired after work and can’t be arsed cooking. Pollo pasta with pesto from Justine Pattison is a great fallback option when I’m on the verge of calling Just Eat, can be on the table within half an hour and tastes fantastic. Even better, it costs just over a quid per serving to make!

Calories wise this recipe is quite high at 498, but you’ll save a few if you omit the single cream and remember this is still much better than scoffing a takeaway. I’ve always got chicken, mushrooms, pesto, pasta and sundried tomatoes to hand so this meal has become one of my favourite ‘store cupboard saviours’.

Recipe: Pollo pasta with pesto

Calories: 498 calories per serving

Serves: 4

Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – takeaway favourites

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 18 mins


  • 250g dried pasta (penne, fusilli or spirals)
  • Oil for spraying or brushing
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 150g button mushrooms (quartered)
  • 50g sundried tomatoes (drained and cut into thin strips)
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil pesto
  • 50ml single cream (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx *£1.32 *cost based on Tesco prices – December 2022

Method: Half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Tip the pasta into the boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes or follow the packet instructions until tender. Cut the chicken into roughly 2.5cm chunks.

Meanwhile, spray or brush a large non-stick frying pan or wok with oil and place over a high heat. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and stir-fry with the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta in a colander and return to the pan. Add the chicken mixture and stir in the pesto and cream, if using. Toss together over a medium heat until the sauce is hot. Season with more pepper and serve.


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