My CSA comes with unlimited basil each week.  Therefore, I have been making a ton of pesto.  I love the fresh taste of pesto.  After a few tries, I found that the best pasta for pesto is Cellantani.  It is a spiral macaroni pasta with rigati grooves in the outside.  The spiral along with the grooves helps the pesto stick to the pasta.  Top this off with some grilled chicken and you have a great meal.

Grilled Chicken over Cellantani Pesto

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb Cellantani Pasta
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and Freshly cracked Pepper for seasoning

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place directly on a preheated medium/high grill.  Grill for roughly 6 minutes per side.

Grilled Chicken

When the chicken is fully cooked and the juices run clear, remove and let rest.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the Cellantani according to the box instructions.  Usually it takes 8-10 minutes to cook.  Drain and return to the pasta to the pot.

Make sure to rinse your basil.  Especially if it is farm fresh.  Need to make sure to get all of the dust off the leaves.


In a food processor combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  If you like your pesto a little on the runnier side you can add a tad more oil, or even a little water if you want it to be a tad bit healthier.

Making Pesto

Pour the pesto over the pasta in the pot and add the cheese.  Mix until combined.

Mix together in the pot

Plate the Cellantani Pesto and then top with the chicken sliced thinly.

You have to love pesto and Cellantani Pasta

This dish is awesome.  It is quick  and easy.  A great way to get rid of some extra basil.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. Fresh basil is the best. It’s getting that time of year that I need to start using up our basil plants, they have been productive this year.

    • Chris – It is totally time to start using up that fresh basil. If you can move it into the house. That basil is good all year.

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