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A make-at-home recipe for Chicken Bellagio – based on the popular version from The Cheesecake Factory.
What is Chicken Bellagio?
Chicken Bellagio is a popular chicken and pasta dish served at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain. The official description on the menu is a “crispy coated chicken breast over basil pasta and Parmesan cream sauce, topped with prosciutto and arugula salad.”
I have to confess I always order the Chicken Bellagio when we eat there – it’s so good! Today’s recipe is my husband Jack’s make-at-home version and – dare I say – it’s even better than the dish they make at the restaurant!
An easier version you can make at home!
Rather than breading and frying a whole, butterflied, boneless chicken breast like they do at the restaurant, our version includes bite-sized, boneless chicken pieces that are briefly marinated, then sautéed with prosciutto and pine nuts. This helps to infuse some really wonderful flavors into the chicken.
And instead of making a basil oil to toss with the pasta, and a Parmesan cream sauce to drizzle over the top – we made an easy, creamy pesto-Parmesan cream sauce to toss with cooked linguini and the chicken.
Finally, our easier Chicken Bellagio is topped with fresh arugula, giving it a fantastic, bright and fresh flavor that complements and balances the creaminess of the sauce. (At the restaurant, they dress the arugula – but we think it’s not needed for our version. If you still want a dressing, try our Simple Red Wine Vinaigrette.)
Why You’ll Love our Chicken Bellagio
- You don’t have to leave home to enjoy this fabulous restaurant-quality dinner!
- Our creamier version is easier to make – with all of the same delicious flavors.
- The chicken cooks up super moist and tender, and the flavors of the pesto, Parmesan, and prosciutto just dance in your mouth!
“I made this Saturday evening when my son was home. Everyone loved it!!!! My son is not a picky eater, but rather a great chef himself, and I impressed him with this one. Another great recipe from A Family Feast.” – Linda
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pesto – You can make your own basil pesto at home following this recipe, or buy a good-quality jarred pesto for convenience.
- Chicken – You’ll use boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite-sized pieces – for this recipe. You could swap in boneless, skinless thighs if you have those on hand.
- Marinade for the Chicken – Egg whites, lemon juice, dried oregano, and some pesto are combined to create marinade that tenderizes the chicken.
- Flour, Salt & Pepper – This mixture is used to bread the chicken.
- Butter & Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This combination is used to fry the chicken pieces. Adding oil to the butter will prevent scorching.
- Prosciutto – Ask for thinly-sliced imported prosciutto at the deli counter.
- Pasta – We cooked up linguini pasta for our recipe, but any strand or sturdy shaped pasta would also work.
- Shallots – This mild onion adds the perfect savory note to the cream sauce.
- Fresh Garlic – We are not fans of the jarred, minced garlic – always use fresh.
- Pine Nuts – This nut adds both texture and a nice earthy flavor to the dish.
- Heavy Cream – Used to make the sauce. Don’t skimp on a lower fat cream.
- Parmesan Cheese – This cheese is used to flavor the cream sauce. In a pinch, Romano cheese could be substituted if that’s what you have on hand.
- Arugula – This peppery, fresh green adds a nice balanced flavor to the dish and complements the rich, creamy sauce.
Special Tools Needed
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Zipper seal bag or bowl, for marinating the chicken
- Small frying pan, to toast the pine nuts.
- Medium bowl
- Large (14″) sauté pan
- Heat-safe Tongs
- Pot, to boil the pasta
How do I make Chicken Bellagio?
- Prepare the pesto, if you are making a homemade version.
- Marinate the chicken pieces.
- Toast the pine nuts.
- Coat the chicken pieces in seasoned flour.
- Fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden brown. Set aside on a platter.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Prepare the sauce.
- Add cooked chicken to the sauce and mix to coat the pieces.
- Serve chicken and sauce over the pasta, topped with a handful of arugula.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Chicken Bellagio ahead of time? This dish is best freshly made, but it reheats fairly well too. Just be sure not to overcook the chicken if you reheat it – the chicken will get tough. Also the pesto sauce can separate if it gets too hot.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered and in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Gently reheat the sauce in a pan on the stove. Or reheat individual portions in the microwave. Just be sure to avoid over heating the chicken and sauce.
- What can I do with the extra arugula I have on hand from this recipe? See below.
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This recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2013. The post has been updated but the delicious recipe remains the same.
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- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pesto, divided (see our homemade pesto recipe here) or use your favorite jarred pesto
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2–3 tablespoon butter
- 2–3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 16 oz. package linguini pasta
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 shaved slices Prosciutto, cut into one inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano, divided
- 1 cup arugula
- Prepare pesto according to this recipe.
- Cut chicken into 1” wide by 2” long strips.
- Mix egg whites, lemon juice, oregano and 2 tablespoons of pesto and stir to combine. Place in a quart zipper seal bag along with chicken strips and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat for about five minutes until lightly browned. Do not overcook.
- Mix the flour salt and pepper. Dip the marinated chicken strips in the flour and coat on both sides.
- In a 14” sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat until hot and frothy. Add chicken strips in single layer and cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes, or just until cooked through. Cook in two to three batches using an additional tablespoon of butter and oil if needed. Remove to platter and hold.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- In the same pan over medium heat, sauté the shallots until translucent; about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add chopped Prosciutto, parsley and toasted pine nuts and cook for one more minute.
- Add cream and 3 tablespoons of the pesto. Add salt and pepper only if needed and stir to combine. Stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese until melted into the sauce. Save the rest for serving.
- Add the cooked chicken into the sauce and gently mix to combine.
- To serve, mix two to three tablespoons of the pesto with the cooked Linguini and place on a serving platter. Top with the chicken and cream mixture. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese (more if needed) and top with the arugula. Or serve pasta, chicken and sauce directly onto serving plates and top each plate with Parmesan and arugula.
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