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Chicken Pasta

This is our all-time favorite Chicken Pasta starting with creamy Italian-seasoned pasta that is tossed with seasoned bites of chicken, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, and tender spinach.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 529kcal
Cost $6.21

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (290g) uncooked rotini
  • 2 medium-sized chicken breasts
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, separated
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic ( ~3 cloves)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese Note 1
  • 1/2 cup (87g) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, coarsely chopped
  • 4 packed cups (100g) baby spinach Note 2
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil-pesto, optional -- see Note 3
  • For serving: finely chopped Italian parsley OR basil, additional Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • PREP CHICKEN: Cut chicken breasts in half widthwise to get 4 pieces. Use a meat mallet/frying pan/your fist to give each piece a quick pound (don't flatten chicken, we just want all the pieces fairly even in width). Season both sides with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. I add about 1/4 teaspoon of each seasoning to one side, flip and add another 1/4 teaspoon of each seasoning to the other side.
  • PASTA: Set a large colander in the sink with a glass mug or liquid measuring cup in the center of the colander (this is so you don't forget to grab some pasta water before draining the pasta!). Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and then cook the pasta according to package instructions subtracting 1 minute from what the package indicates. Use the glass mug to remove a big scoop of pasta water (set aside for now) and then drain the pasta and set aside. Don't rinse under cool water.
  • COOK CHICKEN: Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons butter to a large heavy bottom skillet. Heat to high heat and once melted, add in the chicken in one layer. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through (registers 160 degrees/juices run clear) and remove to a plate. Tent with foil and set aside for now.
  • GARLIC: Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet. Once melted, add garlic. Cook, until golden, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth. It should sizzle and boil, scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Once this 1/2 cup is mostly evaporated, add in the other 1/2 cup. Stir.
  • CREAM SAUCE: Add in the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Simmer, over medium-heat, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until it thickens up and slightly reduces. Sauce shouldn't boil, reduce heat/stir more frequently it needed. While it is thickening, dice the chicken into small pieces or shred with 2 forks on the plate.
  • TOSS: Add the spinach, chicken (and any juices left behind on the plate!) and pasta. Use tongs to toss ingredients into the cream sauce until the sauce thickens, nicely coats the pasta, and the spinach cooks down (1-2 mins). IF needed (sauce is too thick), slowly add in that set aside pasta water. After tossing for about a minute, add in the pesto and continue to toss. Taste and adjust adding more salt/pepper to taste.
  • SERVE: Serve immediately. Top individual plates with a touch more Parmesan if desired, and fresh herbs if using. Enjoy immediately! Pasta is best enjoyed right after being tossed!

Notes

Note 1: Parmesan: Grab a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it on the small holes of a cheese grater to get an accurate measurement and the perfect melt in this sauce.
Note 2: Spinach: While the spinach doesn’t have to be chopped it does integrate better in the dish that way. Plus, you’ll get spinach in more bites and the smaller pieces are easier to eat. I just run a chef's knife through a big pile of spinach quickly!
Note 3: Pesto: We recommend getting refrigerated, freshly made basil pesto. You’ll find it near refrigerated fresh pasta and gourmet cheese. Rana’s® Basil Pesto is our personal favorite store-bought pesto sauce (not sponsored). Note that this pasta isn't intended to taste heavily of pesto -- rather, the pesto is a subtle flavor and freshness add to the dish. If you don't love pesto or don't have it on hand, you can still make this Chicken Pasta & it will be plenty flavorful!  Replace the 1/4 cup of pesto with an additional 1/4 cup heavy cream. You may want to add a touch more salt and Italian seasoning.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.7g | Protein: 20.4g | Fat: 25.4g | Cholesterol: 77.9mg | Sodium: 299.4mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 3.5g