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TUSCAN CHICKEN PASTA

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta Recipe

If you’re looking for a dish that combines the best of Italian flavors with the comfort of a creamy pasta, look no further than this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta. This recipe features golden brown chicken, fresh baby spinach, and sundried tomatoes, all enveloped in a rich, creamy sauce made with garlic and Parmesan cheese. It’s a dish that will please all the pasta lovers in your life and quickly become a family favorite.

Introduction to Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Italian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and comforting dishes, and this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta is no exception. The combination of tender chicken, flavorful sundried tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach, all coated in a creamy garlic-Parmesan sauce, makes this dish a standout. Whether you’re preparing a weeknight dinner or a special meal for guests, this recipe is sure to impress. It’s quick to prepare, yet offers a depth of flavor that tastes like it took hours.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 12 ounces fettuccine pasta noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅔ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • ⅔ cup sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained, and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1: Cooking the Chicken

Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are browned on both sides and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside on a plate.

Step 2: Preparing the Pasta

While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water and cook the fettuccine pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente. Drain the pasta well and set it aside.

Step 3: Making the Sauce

In the same skillet used for the chicken, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, parsley, basil, marjoram, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning.

Step 4: Adding Liquids

Raise the heat to medium-low and add the chicken broth and heavy cream to the skillet. Simmer and reduce the mixture for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the sauce thickens and becomes creamy.

Step 5: Combining Ingredients

Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and slowly add the grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until it is fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Next, add the baby spinach and cook until it is wilted. Finally, add the sundried tomatoes, cooked chicken, and cooked pasta, stirring to combine and warm all ingredients through.

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Step 6: Serving

For best results, serve the Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta promptly. The dish can be garnished with additional grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley if desired.

Tips for Perfect Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

  • Cutting the Chicken: Cut your chicken into fairly thin, uniform pieces rather than cubes to ensure it cooks evenly and thoroughly.
  • Choosing the Pasta: While fettuccine is a great choice, any medium pasta that holds sauce well, such as rigatoni, penne, pappardelle, or rotini, will work for this recipe.
  • Reserving Pasta Water: Don’t throw all the pasta water down the drain. Reserve some for thinning the sauce if needed. A large bowl under your colander can help you remember this step.
  • Using Fresh Parmesan: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese melts better and provides a superior taste compared to pre-grated options.
  • Simmering the Sauce: Avoid boiling the chicken broth and cream. Let it simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, to achieve the perfect creamy consistency.

FAQs

Can I use a different type of chicken?

Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. They will add a slightly different flavor and may be more tender.

Can I add other vegetables to this dish?

Absolutely! Feel free to add vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, or zucchini to enhance the flavor and nutrition of the dish.

What if I don’t have heavy cream?

You can substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or a mixture of milk and butter, though the sauce may be slightly less rich.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave at a reduced power, stirring in a little reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.

Can I freeze this dish?

While the pasta may become a bit softer upon reheating, you can freeze the cooked chicken and sauce separately from the pasta. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stovetop before combining with freshly cooked pasta.

What can I serve with this dish?

This dish pairs well with a simple green salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta is a versatile and delicious recipe that’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Enjoy the rich, comforting flavors and the ease of preparation for any occasion!