Creamy Chicken Pasta with Spinach is velvety, flavorful, and subtly spicy. This dish is made similar to a Penne Alla Vodka but with more cream and some delicious inclusions like chicken and spinach. This dish is ready in 30 minutes!
Creamy chicken pasta is a delicious blend of pasta, chicken, spinach, and a creamy sauce. The creamy sauce is sweet and spicy from the use of tomato paste and red pepper flakes.
This creamy chicken pasta with spinach is perfect for any night of the week. It makes a lot, which is great if you need to feed a group. Serve with crusty bread and wine for a complete pasta night experience.
- It is DELICIOUS!
- This pasta dish is economical; the recipe makes six servings.
- This recipe is quick-and-easy, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta - The beauty of this recipe is that almost any type of pasta will do. While I used penne, any variety will work with the sauce and other ingredients. Linguine is a great option as well as rigatoni.
- Olive Oil and Butter
- Chicken Breast - This recipe calls for 8oz. of boneless, skinless chicken breast. This is generally about two chicken breasts. Chicken sausage would also work well.
- Baby Spinach - I love using spinach in pasta recipes. In place of the baby spinach, cooked broccolini or swiss chard would work well with the other ingredients.
- Fresh Basil - Fresh basil is a key component in the flavoring of this dish.
- Tomato Paste - The subtle orange color of this creamy chicken pasta is thanks to the use of tomato paste. It adds sweetness in addition to a necessary acidic flavor to pair with the cream.
- Vodka - The vodka balances out the sweetness coming from the tomato paste. Additionally, it is essential for deglazing any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Heavy Cream - The luscious creaminess of this recipe comes from the use of heavy cream.
- Red Pepper Flakes - Red pepper flakes bring forth an addictive spiciness to this pasta. You can, however, easily omit them from this recipe.
- Salt and Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese - The cheese is in the sauce as well as used for garnish.
Tear the basil instead of chopping it with a knife. The less force put upon the delicate leaves, the more fragrant they will be.
Cut the chicken in slices or cubes based upon the shape of pasta you use.
Don't forget to salt the pasta water and make sure to wait for a rolling boil before adding the dried pasta. Cook according to package instructions.
Other Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- Orecchiette with Sausage and Peas
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Easy Beef Meatball Recipe
- 10-Minute Hearts of Palm Pasta
Frequently Asked Questions
Ideally, this pasta should not be made in advance. It is best served immediately after it is made when it is at its creamiest state.
Store this pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reserve a ¼ cup of starchy water right before draining the pasta.
Creamy Chicken Pasta with Spinach
- 12 oz uncooked pasta
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 shallots minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoon vodka
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 5 oz baby spinach
- ¼ cup fresh basil torn into small pieces; plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil water and cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Reserve a ¼ cup of starchy pasta water.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and an internal temperature of 165°. Remove the chicken from the pan. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into thin slices.
- With the same nonstick pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for one minute.
- Stir the tomato paste into the shallot-garlic mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the paste has coated the shallots and garlic, and begins to darken, about 3-5 minutes.
- Carefully add the vodka to the pan and stir to incorporate, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the heat slightly to medium-low. Add the heavy whipping cream, stirring constantly until combined. Stir in the parmesan cheese until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, stir in the cooked pasta, spinach, basil, chicken, and starchy pasta water. Toss until pasta is coated with the sauce and spinach has wilted slightly. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately.
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