Chicken With Penne Recipe

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If you love chicken, this Chicken with Penne recipe is gonna knock your socks off. This is a very simple recipe that calls for simple ingredients that are just mixed together to create a tasty dish. It is great for lunch or dinner, and it can be served as an appetizer if you need to feed a lot of people at once.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

This Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe is creamy, garlicky, zesty, flavorful and simple to make in under 30 minutes for an easy weeknight dinner.

cast iron pan with creamy lemon chicken pasta garnished with parsley.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

simple, restaurant worthy meal – Amazing combination of creamy, savory and tangy, along with the juicy seasoned chicken and al dente pasta. Ready in under 30 minutes with pantry friendly ingredients and perfect for meal prep.

Luscious creamy Alfredo sauce that is packed with so much flavor from loads of garlic, lemon zest, juice, Italian seasoning and a hint of spice.

What kind of pasta to use?

We used penne, however this alfredo is delicious made with any other shape like linguini, fettuccini, bow tie, spaghetti, fusilli or ziti.

Key ingredients

Chicken – Boneless skinless breasts or thighs work well for the recipe

Chicken Stock – We used 33% reduced sodium stock. If you are using no sodium or regular sodium stock, then adjust salt accordingly.

Pasta – We used penne, but you can use any kind of noodle that you have on hand.

Heavy cream – Half and half may be used instead.

Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Lemon – Both lemon juice and finely grated zest is used for a lemony punch.

Garlic – Use freshly chopped garlic cloves.

Cheese – Use freshly grated parmesan cheese if possible.

Use only fresh ingredients

Lemon juice – Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice and not the bottled kind. It makes a huge difference.

Parmesan Cheese: Freshly shredded parmesan melts better and gives a silky smooth consistence to the lemon garlic sauce. The powdered stuff or pre-shredded parmesan cheese doesn’t have the same great flavor and texture as freshly shredded parmesan.

Pro tips for success

Use boneless skinless breasts, thighs or tenderloins.

Be sure to cook your meat in a single layer so it gets a golden brown crust. If you overcrowd the pan, it might steam instead. It’s best to work in batches if your pan is not large enough to fit everything at once.

Use your favorite noodle shape instead of penne.

If you prefer not to use chicken, you can use any other protein. Shrimp would be another great option.

Replace heavy cream with half & half to reduce calories, but we do not recommend milk (it makes it too watery).

Make sure to defrost and pat dry chicken before searing.

What can I add to the pasta?

Broccoli – Blanched for couple of minutes along with pasta or sautéed in olive oil before proceeding with the recipe.

Peas – Add frozen peas along with stock and cream.

Spinach – Add baby spinach leaves when sauce is almost done simmering, and stir to wilt.

Zucchini – Saute diced zucchini in olive oil, until partially cooked. Transfer to another bowl and continue with the recipe. Toss it back into the simmering alfredo sauce.

Add asparagus – Cut trimmed asparagus into 1-inch pieces and saute along with onion and garlic in the recipe.

Make is meat free – Skip chicken (but we recommend using chicken stock)

Use leftover rotisserie chicken instead.

Use shrimp instead.

ingredients needed.
Diced chicken breasts in olive oil
Chopped onion, garlic & red pepper flakes
Cooked penne, parmesan, butter, lemon zest & juice

How to make?

It involves 3 simple steps-

Cook pasta – Cook penne until aldente, drain.

Cook chicken, aromatics – Cook diced chicken in some olive oil, until half cooked. Add chopped onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until translucent.

Finish sauce – Stir in cream, chicken stock, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook, until thickened slightly and then stir in cooked penne, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest. Serve hot.

How long will these keep?

This dish will keep well for 2-3 days in your fridge. When it comes to re heating anything with cream sauce, we recommend adding a splash of water or stock to pasta before heating in microwave. Stir halfway through microwave time.

Can this be frozen?

We don’t recommend freezing creamy sauces as they change textures to grainy when frozen. Also, the pasta can become mushy when it’s frozen and reheated with a creamy sauce.

penne with chicken and tomatoes

  • prep time15minuti
  • serves4people

ingredients

  • San Remo No 18 Penne 500g
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan shavings
  • 400g can tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 350g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 80ml water

method

  1. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan
  2. Cook the chicken until brown, then set aside
  3. Add remaining oil and cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft
  4. Add tomatoes and water and increase heat, bringing to the boil then simmering for 10 minutes
  5. Stir through parsley, chicken pieces and salt and pepper to taste
  6. Cook pasta according to packet directions. Drain.
  7. Add pasta to the sauce and serve topped with parmesan shavings.

Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe

Changing up our pasta dishes are key to a happy household at our home! Make this chicken penne pasta recipe in less than 30 minutes. My family loves this and so do I!

pan of chicken penne

Family Friendly. Pasta, chicken and red sauce. You can’t really go wrong right? This creamy tomato chicken sauce is so so delicious. It’s a happy marriage between tomato red sauce and a hint of cream.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Filling and Nutritious – The boys always ask for seconds and when they do, they are left with a full belly. The lean protein also keeps them full longer.
  • Affordable – The ingredients in this dish are easy to find and cost efficient. 

Ingredients

  • Penne Pasta – you can use wheat, standard or gluten free varieties
  • Chicken breasts – I’d use boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • Salt – you’ll need this to give some taste to this dish
  • Half and half – is simply half cream, half milk. You can also use heavy cream, but it will be slightly thicker.
  • Onion powder – this is a seasoning made from dehydrated ground onions. It’s a quick addition to this recipe that makes it flavorful.
  • Fennel seed – this seasoning has a warm sweet aroma that’s like the anise seed. 
  • Oregano – this seasoning is another flavor enhancer that adds body to this dish
  • Dried Basil –  this seasoning is both sweet and savory. It has hints of mint and pepper.
  • Butter – you’ll need this to sauté your chicken. You can opt to use olive oil.
  • Roma tomatoes – These type of tomatoes have more flesh and less liquid and is great for sauces for pastas like this penne recipe.  
  • Garlic – a staple ingredient that you’ll need.
  • Chicken stock – you’ll need this to add flavor and also create the liquid in the sauce.
  • Tomato sauce – this is needed for this recipe. I would not substitute with tomato paste
  • Spinach  – a green vegetable addition to give this dish some extra nutrition.
over the top shot of ingredients for chicken penne pasta

How Do You Make Chicken Penne Pasta

  1. Cook penne pasta per box instructions and set aside. 
  2. In a bowl, mix  salt, onion powder, fennel seed, oregano, and basil. Then season chicken.
  3. Over medium-high heat, melt butter in large sauce pan and sauté chicken. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. In a hot pan add minced garlic and diced tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften.
  5. Add in the chicken stock and half and half to the pan
  6. Mix in the tomato sauce and the pasta and enjoy
how to diagram photo to make penne pasta

Step by Step Instructions

First, gather your ingredients and cook the penne pasta according to package instructions. I like to cook it al dente. Then drain and set aside.

colander of penne pasta cooked

Next, let’s make the seasoning. In a small bowl, mix together salt, onion powder, fennel seed, oregano, and basil. Use this mixture to  thoroughly season your chicken breasts.

raw chicken with seasoning in a bowl

Now, let’s cook the chicken. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and sauté chicken until browned and cooked through. You’ll want to cook the chicken for about  2-3 minutes on each side. Remove it from the pan and set the chicken aside. Don’t overcook the chicken and feel free to use a meat thermometer

browned chicken in skillet

Then, in the hot pan add minced garlic and diced tomatoes. You’ll want to cook it until tomatoes begin to soften.

pan with diced tomatoes and minced garlic

Afterwards, add the chicken broth and half and half to the pan. Make sure to swirl the spoon and remove all the browned bits from the bottom.  That’s the tasty stuff!

pan with half and half and tomatoes

Then, stir in the spinach and tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. The cream sauce should reduce and thicken a bit.

pan with spinach and tomato sauce

Lastly, add the cooked pasta in and place the chicken breasts back in. Salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle Parmesan cheese if desired.  Enjoy!

pan of cooked past and chicken with tomato cream sauce

Cook’s Tips 

  • Don’t over cook your chicken and pasta. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness and cook the pasta per box instructions.
  • If you seem to always dry out your chicken. Feel free to cut up the chicken. You should also allow your chicken to get to near room temperature before cooking. This allows for faster cooking which means less chances of it overcooking.
  • Don’t start cooking your chicken in a cold pan. When doing so, the chicken heats up ever so slowly. When this happens the juices of the chicken start to seep out. There’s not much room for error when it comes to chicken breast because it is very lean and doesn’t have much fat to keep it moist. So make sure that pan is hot! 
  • I know it’s tempting, but try to allow your chicken to rest a bit before cutting into it.  In order to keep those juices inside the chicken where they belong, wait five minutes before cutting into it. 
  • While I recipe tested all the seasonings precisely, you can opt to add your favorite Italian seasoning instead. However, it won’t taste the same but in a pinch it will do! 
  • If you like a little tart flavor you can add some sun dried tomatoes. In addition, if you like some heat, add some red pepper flakes.
  • You can substitute regular penne pasta with other shaped pasta. You can also swap it out for gluten free varieties or protein rich varieties. Just make sure you actually like the pasta or it may turn out that great. 
  •  

FAQ

Can you freeze this chicken penne pasta?

Yes you can freeze for up to two months.

How do I reheat this dish when frozen?

Defrost in refrigerator and warm at 350F or microwave

How long can this keep in the fridge?

You can happily keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.

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