SPINACH PARMESAN PASTA WITH CHICKEN is an easy, 30-minute meal perfect for those nights when dinner sneaks up on you!
Have you ever had one of those days when dinnertime sneaks up on you? At least once a week for me! When that happens I have to improvise with what I can find and sometimes when I make stuff up on the fly, it turns out delicious. My recipe for Spinach Parmesan Pasta with Chicken is the perfect example! It happened one night when I didn’t have anything planned for dinner, and this easy recipe was on the table in under 30 minutes. The whole family loves this satisfying meal!
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Those days I’m so focused on what I’m doing I tend to forget to eat, and by the time dinner rolls around, my stomach is screaming at me! It gets to the point where I can’t ignore it anymore and must feed it…something. But what? It never fails that those are always the days when I don’t have anything planned for dinner, so I go into survival mode. I end up scrounging around the cupboards and the deep dark recesses of the freezer pulling out this and that to see what I have. Inevitably, I always have pasta, cheese, chicken, and some sort of vegetable that is in desperate need of being used in something. Perfect! I can work with this.
I get the pasta going in a big pot of salted, boiling water and turn my attention to the chicken. After seasoning it generously with salt and pepper, I melt some butter in a hot skillet and sear the chicken on both sides until it is cooked through. This only takes about 7-10 minutes.
Since I’ve been working all day, I don’t want any more dishes to do than I have to, right?! With that in mind, I reduce the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet with the chicken. Once that butter melts, I pile on 10 ounces of fresh spinach, a tablespoon of freshly minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt right on top of the chicken. I know that looks like way too much spinach, but trust me, it will wilt down and be just right.
Carefully stirring the spinach around the skillet until it wilts, I check on my noodles. They are about done, so I drain them, reserving a little bit of the pasta liquid. I put the noodles back in the pot with about 1/4 cup of the pasta water and set them aside.
Once my spinach is wilted, I check the flavor and add a little more salt & pepper before tossing the spinach and chicken mixture into the pot with the noodles. To finish off the dish I grate on about a 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss it all together. One more taste just to make sure I have enough cheese and then dinner is ready to go! So easy! We love this dinner, and I hope you do too.
- 16 ounces pasta noodles
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken strips
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 10 ounces fresh spinach
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add noodles back to the pot with the reserved pasta water and set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, season chicken strips with salt & pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over mid-high heat. Add chicken to melted butter in skillet and sear for 3-5 minutes on each side until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and is nicely browned on the outside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet and add 10 ounces of fresh spinach, 1/2 to 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook while stirring, until the spinach is wilted. About 5 minutes. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper as needed. NOTE: I use a full tablespoon of garlic in this recipe. If you think that might be too much for your taste, then start with 1/2 tablespoon. You can add more after you wilt the spinach and give it a taste.
- Add the spinach/chicken mixture to the pot with the noodles and grate on 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss to combine. Enjoy!
For more quick pasta recipes, check out my Margherita Penne Pasta
and my Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
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