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!
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