Ultra Crispy Chicken Thighs Recipe With Pasta & Fresh Pesto Is an Unforgettable Dinner by Donna John

Ultra Crispy Chicken Thighs Recipe With Pasta & Fresh Pesto Is an Unforgettable Dinner

Mention crispy chicken thighs and my stomach growls, and pesto pasta is one of my favorite things to make and eat. Combine the two and you have an amazing chicken dinner worth bragging about! These crispy chicken thighs with pasta and arugula pesto are a quick and easy dinner loaded with garden-fresh flavors.

The chicken recipe has a few steps, but they're all simple and it comes together quickly. Start by putting all the pesto ingredients into a blender and giving them a whirl. Next comes the chicken. Season the chicken then brown on one side over high heat to create a super crispy skin. While the chicken cooks, boil the pasta, drain and stir in some of the pesto and the chicken broth. The pasta goes into the pan, is topped with the half-cooked chicken and finished in the oven. When the chicken comes out of the oven, drizzle it with the remaining pesto.

Serve this Italian-inspired chicken and pasta for dinner with a fresh vegetable or salad on the side. Some hot garlic bread would take this comforting dinner over the top.

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Cuisine: American / Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time:  55 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6


Arugula Pesto

  • 2 cups packed arugula
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

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Recipe Notes

  • I used cavatappi pasta, but rotini, penne, fusilli or any other short pasta will work for this recipe.
  • Use vegetable oil for browning the chicken in the skillet. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil.
  • Try this recipe with basil pesto instead of the arugula pesto.
  • Drizzle the finished dish with the remaining pesto or serve it on the side.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Put all the pesto ingredients into a blender. Season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Pulse until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat until hot. Put the chicken into the pan, skin side down. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook the chicken for 15 minutes. (Do not flip the chicken over.)
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate. (The chicken will not be cooked through yet.)
  6. While the chicken cooks, prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain.
  7. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons of the pesto and the chicken broth.
  8. Stir to combine.
  9. Remove the drippings from the skillet. Add the pesto noodles on the bottom. Top with the chicken.
  10. Bake in a preheated 400-degree F oven for about 30 minutes.
  11. Drizzle with the remaining pesto or serve it on the side.

Recipe cooking times and servings are approximate. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography. Need to convert cooking and baking measurements? Here are some kitchen conversion charts. Here's how to submit your recipes to 30Seconds.

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