Serrano Pepper Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

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Spice things up at dinner tonight!

If you love pesto and foods that pack a spicy punch, this recipe is for you! Serrano Pepper Pesto is a unique spin on a traditional favorite. It can be served with any pasta dish and today we’ve paired it with Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Peas, and Leeks.

Serrano Pepper Pesto

Serrano Pepper Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Serrano Pepper Pesto is made just the same way as traditional pesto with all the classic ingredients including basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil but with the addition of serrano pepper. We added lemon juice for a bit of brightness. For more depth of flavor, we suggest browning the garlic before blending, although this step can be skipped if you’re short on time.

This recipe calls for one serrano pepper which provides a medium level of heat. If you like your foods extra spicy, add another half of a serrano. If you like things milder, go with half of a serrano only.

Serrano Pepper Pesto

Serrano Pepper Pesto

Serrano Peppers vs Jalepeño Peppers

Although quite a bit smaller than jalapeños, serrano peppers look similar to them. Serranos and jalapeños also taste very similar. The main difference between them is the heat they offer. When it comes to which is spicier, serranos definitely win. They are about three to five times hotter than jalapeño peppers.

Serrano Pepper Pesto would be delicious drizzled over grilled vegetables, spread inside a grilled cheese sandwich, or as a marinade for grilled chicken. Today, we’re serving it on Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Leeks, and Peas. Like most of our pasta dishes, it whips up quickly yet is full of flavor.

Produce Mom Tip: Learn how to cut & clean leeks like a pro

Serrano Pepper Pesto Pasta with Chicken SausageSerrano Pepper Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

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Serrano Pepper Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings4 servings


Serrano Pepper Pesto

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 serrano pepper diced
  • 2 cups basil chopped
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Spicy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

  • 12 oz gemelli pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz Italian chicken sausage sliced
  • 1 cup peas frozen
  • 2 leeks cut into half moons
  • 4-5 tbsp Serrano Pepper Pesto


  • Make Pesto: Add olive oil and garlic cloves to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes or until garlic is very fragrant and beginning to brown. Let oil and garlic cool for 5 minutes and then add to food processor. Add remaining pesto ingredients and process until desired consistency.
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Add frozen peas during the last 2 minutes. Drain.
  • In a large skillet, heat up 1 TBSP olive oil and add chicken sausage. Cook 3-4 minutes or until it begins to brown, toss occasionally.
  • Add leeks to skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add pasta and peas to the skillet and gently fold in serrano pepper pesto. Garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Pasta
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Pesto can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. To keep your pesto from drying out and browning, top it with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Add another drizzle every few days to keep the basil fresh. Pesto can also be frozen and stored for even longer. It’s great to have on hand in the kitchen!

Swap in Serrano Pepper Pesto any time a recipe calls for classic pesto and you’re in the mood to spice things up! How will you serve it? Let us know in the comments below.

Homemade Serrano Pepper Pesto Spicy Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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1 Comment

  1. Wow! I’m sure this recipe taste so good! I’ll buy some lacking ingredients tomorrow and give this a try. Thanks for sharing!