Tuscan Chicken Pasta

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Creamy, savory, flavorful, and cheesy! Our Tuscan Chicken Pasta is all of those things and more. Made with perfectly cooked noodles, seasoned chicken, cream cheese, fresh spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese, our creamy chicken pasta recipe will quickly become a family favorite. 

It’s been way too long since I’ve made my Tuscan chicken pasta, and I thought it needed a bit of an update. This pasta recipe is one that both John and I love because it’s creamy, full of flavor, and it’s not too difficult to prepare. 

Normally, I’d make the sauce with heavy cream, but lately cream cheese has been my go-to. It’s so easy to use and helps the sauce thicken up nicely. Plus, it’s not quite as expensive as heavy cream, so that’s a bonus.

I also added a couple of ingredients to the sauce like diced onions and fresh garlic. They add a wonderful flavor and smell amazing as they cook. 

If you’re looking for a way to round out this dish, Tuscan chicken pasta tastes amazing with bruschetta or a slice of focaccia.

Chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes and spinach.

Tips for Successful Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Use thinly sliced chicken. If the chicken breasts are too thick, they won’t cook all the way through on the stove top. Use a knife to butterfly them so they’re an even thickness.

Adjust the salt. The cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and chicken broth all contain salt. If you’re sensitive to salty flavors, consider omitting the added salt.

Soften the sun-dried tomatoes. Soak the tomatoes in hot or even boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain, then chop them when they’re cool enough to handle. For the longest time, I skipped this part and would always end up with hard pieces of tomato in the pasta. This dish has a much better texture when the tomatoes are softened.

Make it spicy. We love this dish with a little bit of crushed red pepper flakes. I have those as optional, but they add just enough heat and cut through the richness of the sauce nicely.

Try it vegetarian. Leave out the chicken and use vegetable broth for a meatless option.

Kim’s Shortcut Tip

Tip

Use precooked chicken to save on prep time. There are several varieties of precooked, frozen chicken and rotisserie chicken that would work well. Just make sure it’s properly heated before adding it to the pasta and sauce. 

Something to note if you go this route, sometimes rotisserie chicken can be dry and soak up a lot of sauce. Be prepared to add extra milk or chicken broth when reheating the pasta.

Large bowl of creamy tuscan chicken pasta.

How to Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Store leftover Tuscan chicken pasta in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheating: The best way to reheat this pasta is on the stove top over low heat. If the noodles appear dry, add a splash or two of milk to loosen up the sauce.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

Yes, absolutely! Just make sure they cook all the way through before removing them from the pan.

What type of noodles are best to use in Tuscan chicken pasta?

I love to use short pasta noodles like campanelle, rigatoni, penne, or ziti. However, long pasta noodles like spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine also make great options. Use your favorite!

Can I use frozen spinach in place of fresh spinach?

We’ve only used fresh spinach in our Tuscan chicken pasta. If you decide to use frozen spinach, make sure to thaw it completely, drain it well, and use paper towels to remove as much liquid from it as possible. Any leftover liquid may make the sauce soupy.

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Pasta noodles tossed in creamy spinach and sundried tomatoes.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta

5 from 2 votes
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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce and Pasta

  • 8 ounces short pasta
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white onion, diced (½ medium onion)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil and diced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 5 ounces baby spinach

Instructions
 

To Make the Chicken

  • In a small bowl combine the seasonings.
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • If the chicken breasts are thick, use a sharp knife to butterfly them (cut them in half lengthwise). Sprinkle both sides with the seasoning blend.
    1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Heat a large skillet with deep sides (12-inches or larger) over low-medium heat, and add the olive oil and chicken. Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side. It’s finished when the juices run clear, it's no longer pink, and the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
    1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to rest on a plate. After the chicken rests for 5 minutes, dice it into bite-sized pieces.

To Make the Pasta and Sauce

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until it's al dente. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water to use later. Drain the pasta and set aside.
    8 ounces short pasta
  • In the same pan used to cook the chicken, melt the butter then add the onions and cook until softened. To the onions, add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes if using. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    ½ cup white onion
    2 medium garlic cloves
    4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
    2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pour in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer. Add the cubed cream cheese and whisk continuously until the cream cheese melts. At this point, the sauce will thicken quite a bit. Don't walk away from it while it's on the hot burner or it could scorch.
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup whole milk
    8 ounces block-style cream cheese
  • Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese, and continue whisking until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Add the spinach and stir just until wilted and reduced in volume.
    5 ounces baby spinach
    ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Combine the cooked noodles and chicken with the sauce. Add small splashes of reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Otherwise, discard the pasta water.
    ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • Serve with extra parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 2 cups of finished pasta. Actual calories will vary.
 
*Recipe makes approximately 8 cups total.
 
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Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 831kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1261mg | Potassium: 2018mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 4766IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 355mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of Berly’s Kitchen and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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