Home > Dinner > Penne Pasta with a Lightened-up Parmesan Cream Sauce Penne Pasta with a Lightened-up Parmesan Cream Sauce April 10, 2016 | 48 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. A creamy chicken penne pasta dish with mushrooms, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Easy, 30-minute dinner that can be made in ONE pot! Penne Pasta I worked at a local sit-down restaurant all throughout my high school and college years. I loved the job, the people, and (most importantly…?), I loved the food! The menu would change every six months but there was a handful of classic dishes that always stayed the same. The creamy chicken penne pasta was one of the most popular dishes and in all the 7 years I worked there, this dish was never removed or changed from the menu. Today I’m bringing you my own twist on this “famous” creamy chicken penne pasta. The penne pasta in the restaurant I used to work at actually had a few more ingredients (shrimp and artichokes), but I’m simplifying and lightening it a bit. This still isn’t a tremendously healthy dish, but this penne pasta recipe is FAR healthier than heavy cream-based sauces. It’s also still super simple and quick to make — you can have this on the table in 30 minutes or less! Technically this dish can be made in ONE pot, but it does take a little bit longer to do it the one pot route. For one pot, you cook the pasta first in the pot and then drain it. In that same pot, you can then quickly sauté the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, remove those and make the cream sauce. Once the cream sauce is finished, everything gets tossed together and it’s ready to DEVOUR. If you want to make this dish a little quicker, you can use 2 pots. One pot cooks the pasta while the other prepares the mushrooms + tomatoes and then the cream sauce. Either way this comes together quickly and it’s so delicious! Feel free to double the cream sauce if you like things extra creamy, but it won’t be nearly as light of a dish with double the sauce 🙂 Enjoy! More Delicious Pasta Dishes: Mexican Pasta Salad One Skillet Creamy Cajun and Sausage Pasta One skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Chicken Penne Pasta with a Lightened-up Parmesan Cream Sauce 4.88 from 8 votes - Review this recipe A (Lighter) Creamy Penne Chicken Pasta Dish with mushrooms, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Easy, 30-minute dinner that can be made in ONE pot! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Chicken Penne Pasta with a Lightened-up Parmesan Cream Sauce 4.88 from 8 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe A (Lighter) Creamy Penne Chicken Pasta Dish with mushrooms, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Easy, 30-minute dinner that can be made in ONE pot! Course Main Course Cuisine American Keyword penne pasta Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 581kcal Author Chelsea Cost $6.21 Ingredients12 ounces Penne Pasta (use Barilla Pronto for super quick prep!)1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, coarsely chopped8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced1 cup (prepared/leftover) rotisserie or grilled chicken, shredded2 cups packed baby spinach1/2 cup Parmesan cheeseParmesan Sauce1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil from the sundried tomatoes)3 tablespoons unsalted butter1 teaspoon minced garlic3 tablespoons white flour1 cup chicken stock (or chicken broth; stock has more flavor)1 cup milk (1%, 2%, or whole milk; 1% for the lightest version)1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning5 tablespoons Parmesan cheeseSalt and Pepper, to tasteOptional: fresh thyme InstructionsCook the penne pasta according to package directions*. Drain and set aside.In the same pot, over medium heat, add in 1 tablespoon of oil from the sundried tomatoes. Add in the mushrooms and stir for 3-4 minutes. Add in the coarsely chopped tomatoes and stir for another 1-2 minutes. Dump this mixture on top of the set aside Penne.In the same pot again (return to the burners and put at medium-high heat), add 1 more tablespoon sundried tomato oil OR olive oil and the butter. Once the butter is melted, stir in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Slowly add in the flour, whisking constantly. Whisk for one minute.Slowly add in the chicken broth while whisking and then slowly add in the milk while continuing to whisk. Increase the heat and allow the mixture to get to a boiling point and then reduce and allow to simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add in the Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce is thickened, add back in the pasta + veggie mixture. Add in the leftover rotisserie chicken (or leftover grilled chicken) and spinach to warm through (get the spinach to wilt) for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir the ingredients until combined and add in the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.Stir and enjoy immediately garnished with fresh thyme if desired. Recipe Notes*If you want this dish a little quicker and don't mind dirtying another pot, cook the pasta in one pot and as soon as that's going, start the mushrooms cooking in another pot. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 581kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.3g | Protein: 24.1g | Fat: 21.3g | Cholesterol: 40.1mg | Sodium: 546.9mg | Fiber: 4.4g | Sugar: 8.2g DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.