I first made this dish back in high school, and my mom loved it.  It’s since become her frequently requested item for special events, so when I wanted to hold a little birthday dinner for her when she came to visit this was the first thing that came to mind.  It’s tasty AND easy!  The hardest thing is chopping up the vegetables, which I didn’t even do that great of a job, leaving the peppers too thick this time around.  Nevertheless, this dish can also be known as winner winner (literally) chicken and pasta dinner.

Santa Fe Chicken Pasta

  • 12 oz. uncooked dried mostaccioli or rigatoni (or any similar-type) pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 medium yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup pesto (homemade or the refrigerated store-bought, i.e. Buitoni)
  • Pitted olives, optional
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, and keep warm.

While cooking the pasta, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken strips, stirring constantly, until lightly browned (about 4-5 minutes).  Stir in the onion and peppers, and continue stirring until the chicken is no longer pink and is cooked through (6-8 minutes).

Add the cooked pasta, cilantro, pesto, and olives if using to the skillet, and continue cooking until heated through (1-2 minutes).   Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Land O’Lakes Pasta recipe collection (1998)