This Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken is a meal that comes together in just over 20 minutes that is a total crowd pleaser!
When you scan the ingredients in this recipe, or, quite simply, see the photos, you know it’s going to be a winner. Pasta + chicken in a creamy parmesan garlic sauce with sun dried tomato = a sure fire hit with everyone!
It’s pretty hard to go wrong when it comes to pastas in creamy sauces (like Caesar Chicken Pasta). For me, the trick is finding the right balance so it’s creamy but not so rich that it’s too heavy to have as a midweek meal. It would be easy to make a creamy pasta using loads and loads of cream. But what I like to do is use a mix of cream with chicken broth and parmesan. The chicken broth adds flavour to the sauce and the parmesan both thickens it as well as adding savouriness to the sauce.
Having said that though, this recipe has more sauce than most cream chicken recipes around because it’s a two-in-one recipe. That is, there’s enough sauce to serve with the chicken as well as tossing through pasta.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention! Another little trick to thicken sauces without adding yet more cream is to toss the pasta in the sauce with a splash of the pasta cooking water. The starch in the water mixes with the oil in the sauce and thickens it. This is called emulsification and it’s a step in all real Italian pasta recipes. Gone are the days of dumping plain pasta in a bowl and spooning over the sauce which results in watery sauce at the bottom of the bowl. Nope, you want that sauce to stick to the pasta, and the way to do that is by tossing the pasta in the sauce on the stove. That way every piece of pasta has sauce clinging to it, rather than sliding off into the bottom of the bowl. :-)
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken
- 8 ounces ziti or other pasta of choice
- 4 small chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 4 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus extra for garnish
- ½ - ¾ cup sun dried tomato cut into strips (Note 1)
- 1 cup baby spinach optional
- ¼ cup basil leaves sliced
- Cook ziti according to packet directions MINUS 1 minute. Just before draining, scoop out ½ cup of pasta cooking water.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Pound to 1″ thickness if they are thicker than that.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side, then remove onto a plate, cover loosely with foil to rest.
- Melt butter in the skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute.
- Add mushrooms and cook until golden – about 2 minutes.
- Add broth, cream, parmesan and sun dried tomato. Stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer rapidly for 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Season sauce to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Add pasta, cooking water and baby spinach. Toss for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened – the starch in the pasta cooking water will emulsify with the fat in the sauce to thicken it.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to serving plates. Top with chicken then spoon over remaining sauce in the skillet. Garnish with fresh basil and parmesan. Serve!
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