This creamy baked pesto pasta with chicken meatballs is the perfect weeknight meal. Loaded with juicy, tender chicken meatballs, creamy pesto pasta and fresh herbs, you’re going to love this recipe.

Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

For this recipe, be sure to use Smart Chicken’s ground chicken. If your local grocer doesn’t carry their ground chicken, you can make homemade ground chicken by buzzing up two of their chicken breasts in the food processor.

If you’re new here, Smart Chicken is the reason I started eating chicken again after 9 years. Organic Smart Chickens are exclusively fed a certified organic, certified non-GMO diet, and are never given antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products. The program is certified humane by HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) and every chicken is free to roam, with access to outdoor pastures. Smart Chicken is USDA Process Verified as pure air chilled, without added water and are hand-trimmed for your convenience.

This post is sponsored by Smart Chicken. While I was compensated for my time, all opinions are my own.

Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

How to Make Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to the package. Al dente is best as the pasta will continue to cook in the oven. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water and drain the remaining water using a colander. Set the pasta aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, egg, olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cracked black pepper. Mix until well combined then form the mixture into meatballs. I was able to get 25 meatballs.

Heat a neutral oil in a skillet over medium high heat. I used avocado oil. Shallow fry the meatballs until they are golden brown on all sides. Place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Next, heat a 3.5-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add butter and sauté the minced garlic and diced shallots. Once the shallots are soft, add the pesto and ½ – ¾ cup pasta water. Mix well.

Next, add cream cheese and whisk until everything is well combined. If the sauce gets too thick, add more pasta water. Turn off the heat on the sauce. You do not want it to get too thick as the pasta will absorb a lot of the moisture.

Next, add the cooked pasta into the saucepan with the creamy pesto sauce. Top with the grated parmesan cheese and mix well. Nestle the meatballs into the pasta and sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes, cracked black pepper and parsley.

Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot.

Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

Storage

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat in them microwave until heated through. Looking for more recipes?

Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

Creamy Baked Pesto Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

This creamy baked pesto pasta with chicken meatballs is the perfect weeknight meal. Loaded with juicy, tender chicken meatballs, creamy pesto pasta and fresh herbs, you’re going to love this recipe.
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Ingredients

Pasta and Sauce

  • 8-10 ounces pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup shallots, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced, 2-3 cloves
  • ¼ cup pesto, store bought is fine, I use Delallo Foods
  • ½ – ¾ cup pasta water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella, for the top of the dish
  • fresh basil, as garnish

Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground chicken, Smart Chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, or avocado oil for frying

Equipment

  • 1 pasta pot
  • 1 colander
  • 1 skillet
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 oven safe saucepan with lid

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to the package. Al dente is best as the pasta will continue to cook in the oven. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water and drain the remaining water using a colander. Set the pasta aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, egg, olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cracked black pepper. Mix until well combined then form the mixture into meatballs. I was able to get 25 meatballs.
  • Heat a neutral oil in a skillet over medium high heat. I used avocado oil. Shallow fry the meatballs until they are golden brown on all sides. Place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
    Next, heat a 3.5-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add butter and sauté the diced shallots and minced garlic. Once the shallots are soft, add the pesto and ½ – ¾ cup pasta water. Mix well.
  • Next, add the cream cheese and whisk until everything is well combined. Then, add the grated parmesan cheese. If the sauce gets too tight, add more pasta water or chicken broth.
    Turn off the heat on the sauce. You do not want it to get too thick as the pasta will absorb a lot of the moisture.
  • Next, add the cooked pasta into the saucepan with the creamy pesto sauce. Nestle the meatballs into the pasta and sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes, cracked black pepper and parsley.
  • Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 531kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 1323mg, Potassium: 821mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1216IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 333mg, Iron: 3mg