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!
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.
- 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.
How Do You Make Chicken Penne Pasta
- Cook penne pasta per box instructions and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix salt, onion powder, fennel seed, oregano, and basil. Then season chicken.
- Over medium-high heat, melt butter in large sauce pan and sauté chicken. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In a hot pan add minced garlic and diced tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften.
- Add in the chicken stock and half and half to the pan
- Mix in the tomato sauce and the pasta and enjoy
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.
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.
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
Then, in the hot pan add minced garlic and diced tomatoes. You’ll want to cook it until tomatoes begin to soften.
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!
Then, stir in the spinach and tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. The cream sauce should reduce and thicken a bit.
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!
- 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.
Yes you can freeze for up to two months.
Defrost in refrigerator and warm at 350F or microwave
You can happily keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Looking for more easy chicken dinner ideas? Try these:
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Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe
- 6 ounce box penne pasta
- 4 large chicken breasts boneless & skinless
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried fennel seed
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup half & half
- 1 ½ cup chicken stock
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 ½ cups fresh spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: parmesan cheese basil, parsley
- Start by cooking the penne according the manufacturer, drain and set aside.
- In a small dish mixing together salt, onion powder, fennel seed, oregano, and basil then thoroughly season chicken breasts.
- Over medium-high heat melt butter in large sauce pan and sauté chicken until browned and cooked through. About 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set chicken aside.
- In the hot pan add minced garlic and diced tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes begin to soften.
- Add chicken stock and half and half to the pan making sure to swirl the spoon, removing all the browned bits from the bottom.
- Next stir in the spinach and tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Sauce should reduce and thicken a bit.
- Throw the cooked pasta in and place chicken breasts back in. Enjoy!
- Can be frozen for up to two months. Defrost in refrigerator and warm in oven on 350 degrees F or microwave.