Creamy Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Pasta with Chicken

This creamy pasta with chicken is a quick, easy dinner the whole family will enjoy.

 

In this recipe, penne pasta is tossed with a creamy sauce loaded with grape tomatoes and greens. Then the pasta is topped with pan-fried chicken cutlets that are seasoned with an Italian inspired seasoning blend.

 

To make this pasta dish even better, it’s made with milk instead of cream it’s not too heavy. Plus, the tomatoes and greens make this an easy and delicious way to get some veggies in.

 

This is a great meal to make on busy weeknights, and since it makes a nice big skillet of creamy goodness, you might even have a little leftover for lunch, maybe…Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients for the Chicken

4 Thin Chicken Cutlets (thin, boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1 pound)

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Dried Oregano

½ teaspoon Dried Thyme

¼ teaspoon Dried Rosemary

¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

 

Ingredients for the Pasta and Sauce

3 tablespoons Butter

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

Pinch Salt, plus salt for the pasta water

Pinch Black Pepper

3 tablespoons Flour (all purpose)

2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for serving if desired

3 cups Whole Milk

5 ounces Spinach, Kale, Chard or a combination

1 pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

8 ounces Penne Pasta, or use your favorite pasta

 

Prep Work

This dinner is really easy and quick to put together. Let’s start with the chicken. We need thin chicken cutlets, so if you’re starting out with regular boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of cutlets:

  • Slice chicken in half lenghwise to make two thinner pieces.
  • Flatten it a bit using the palm of your hand
  • Make a seasoning mix: add the 1 teaspoon of salt, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning mix on both sides.
  • Next, mince the garlic
  • Wash the greens if not using prepackaged, washed variety
  • Finally, measure out the butter, flour, parmesan cheese and the milk. They’re all going in at different times so keep them in different bowls.

 

I like using glass nesting bowls to help with my meal prep. They keep my ingredients organized, which takes the stress out of cooking. Alright, that’s it for the prep.

The ingredients for the creamy pasta with chicken arranged in glass bowls and displayed on a wood cutting board.

 

Start the pasta water

Before we start cooking, we’re going to start a large pot of water over medium to medium-high heat. Cover the pot and let the water heat up and come to a boil while you cook the chicken and start the sauce.

 

Having the pasta water ready to go will ensure the pasta and the sauce are done at about the same time. If you wait until the end to start the water, the sauce will sit too long and start to thicken.

 

Cook the Chicken

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until it’s cooked through.

 

The chicken should be at least 165°F at its thickest piece. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure. The cooking time for the chicken is a guide; the actual time will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces. If it’s not cooked through after the suggested time, give it another minute or two per side and check the temperature again.

 

Remove the skillet from the heat. We want to take the skillet off the heat so that the oil and bits on the bottom of the pan don’t burn while we’re dealing with the chicken.

 

Remove the cutlets from the skillet and place them on a sheet pan or plate. Loosely cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil and/or place it in microwave or oven. The chicken should stay nice and warm away from drafts. Do not wash the skillet.

 

Make the sauce

  • Place the same skillet back over medium heat and add the butter.
  • When the butter is melted, add the garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds while stirring.
  • Next, add the flour, and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture while stirring. When the milk is incorporated, add the parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth.
  • Add the tomatoes and the greens to the sauce and stir until the greens start to wilt and fit comfortably in the skillet.
  • When the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Cook the sauce for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a gentle simmer. If it’s boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a bit.

 

Cook’s notes: The sauce will not thicken until it comes to a simmer/boil. Let it heat up gently, don’t crank the heat. It will happen; it just takes a few minutes.

 

Cook the pasta

Once the sauce is covered and cooking, make the pasta. Raise the heat on the pasta water, make sure it’s boiling. Then add the pasta.

 

Cook the pasta to package directions for al dente. Remember to salt the water; it’s your chance to season the pasta (1-2 tablespoons of salt to the pasta water should do it).

 

Before draining the pasta, use a ladle to scoop out 1-2 cups of the cooking water. Reserve it just in case we need it to loosen the sauce. Drain the pasta.

 

Bring it all together

Immediately add the pasta to the sauce, lower the heat to low and cover. Heat for just a few minutes to let the pasta soak up some of the sauce. Stir occasionally. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Start with 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stirring in between until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

 

Taste the sauce and a couple of pieces of pasta and add salt, if needed. As a reference, we added 1 teaspoon to ours.

 

Finally, slice chicken and add it to the skillet or serve it on top of each individual serving.

A close up image of creamy penne pasta with greens and grape tomatoes topped with sliced chicken and served in a light blue bowl.

 

You may also like these easy dinner recipes:

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage

Tortellini Tomato Soup

Italian Sausage Sandwich

Chicken Meatball Soup

Lentil Sausage Soup

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

 

Creamy penne pasta with greens and grape tomatoes topped with sliced chicken cutlets served in a light blue plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Creamy Pasta with Chicken

This creamy pasta with chicken is a quick, easy dinner the whole family will enjoy.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 654kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

Ingredients for the Chicken

  • 4 Thin Chicken Cutlets thin, boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1 pound
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Ingredients for the Pasta and Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • Pinch Salt plus salt for the pasta water
  • Pinch Black Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Flour all purpose
  • 2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese plus extra for serving if desired
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 5 ounces Spinach, Kale, or Chard, or a combination
  • 1 pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 8 ounces Penne Pasta or use your favorite pasta

Instructions

  • Make a seasoning mix: add the 1 teaspoon of salt, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning mix on both sides.

Start the pasta water

  • Start a large pot of water over medium to medium-high heat. Cover the pot and let the water heat up and come to a boil while you cook the chicken and start the sauce.

Cook the chicken

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-5 minutes or until it’s cooked through. The chicken should be at least 165°F on an instant read thermometer at its thickest piece.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and place them on a pan or plate and keep warm. Do not wash the skillet.

Make the sauce

  • Place the same skillet back over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted add the garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds while stirring.
  • Add the flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture while stirring. When the milk is incorporated, add the parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth.
  • Add the tomatoes and the greens to the sauce and stir until the greens start to wilt and fit comfortably in the skillet.
  • When the sauce comes to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and cover.
  • Cook the sauce for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep it at a gentle simmer. If it’s boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a bit.

Cook the pasta

  • Once the sauce is covered and cooking, make the pasta.
  • Raise the heat on the pasta water. Make sure it’s boiling, then add the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta to package directions for al dente. Remember to salt the water.
  • Before draining the pasta, use a ladle to scoop out 1-2 cups of the cooking water. Reserve it just in case we need it to loosen the sauce.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Immediately add the pasta to the sauce, lower the heat to low and cover the skillet.
  • Heat for just a few minutes to let the pasta soak up some of the sauce. Stir occasionally. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. Start with 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stirring in between, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
  • Taste the sauce and a couple of pieces of pasta and add salt, if needed. As a reference we added 1 teaspoon to ours.
  • Finally, slice chicken and add it to the skillet or serve it on top of each individual serving.

Notes

The cooking time for the chicken is a guide; the actual time will depend on the thickness of your chicken pieces. If it’s not cooked through after the suggested time, give it another minute or two per side and check the temperature again.
To keep the chicken warm, loosely cover the plate with a piece of aluminum foil and/or place the plate in microwave or oven. The chicken should stay nice and warm away from drafts.
When making the sauce, keep in mind it will not thicken until it comes to a simmer/boil. Let it heat up gently, don’t crank the heat. It will happen; it just takes a few minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 943mg | Potassium: 1275mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 4923IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 310mg | Iron: 3mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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