This chicken pasta recipe is comfort food and dinner in just 15 minutes. Chicken pieces cooked a creamy white sauce, then tossed with pasta, green peas, and olives. Perfect when you need a super-quick meal using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
Table of Content
In our home, we eat pasta at least once a week. It can be a simple, quick meal like this recipe, or my cherry tomato pasta, or pasta lasagna. And sometimes, time permitting, I take the trouble to make homemade lasagna from scratch (yes, with homemade pasta). So, it doesn't matter what type of pasta, we've got to have pasta at least once a week.
For me, pasta is a quick meal because it's usually with ingredients I already have in my kitchen. I even have extra fresh tomato sauce in the freezer for busy days. When you have teenage kids, you gotta start having things in the fridge at all times because every 2 hours it's 'mama I'm hungry'.
Why make this recipe?
- A meal in 15 minutes and absolute comfort food that's what this chicken with pasta is all about.
- It looks rich and creamy, but there is no butter or cream and it has only 4 tablespoon of cheese.
- The recipe itself is super simple and easy. Boiling the pasta takes 11 minutes, but the sauce with chicken really takes less than 10.
- And, the best part is, that almost every ingredient is easy to find and you probably already have in your kitchen. If you make Italian food often, then you probably already have olives in the fridge, frozen peas in the freezer, and basil as well as red onions. That said, you can also use regular onions, and omit the peas or olives.
Ingredients and substitutes
- Chicken - We love chicken thighs, and yet you can also use chicken breast or cutlets.
- Onions - I highly recommend red or Spanish onions. These are sweet and caramelize beautifully in the sauce.
- Olives - Black olives are picked after they are ripe, while green olives are picked when they are still raw. Both are of course cured. Personally, we like black olives in our pasta but today I have used a mix of both for contrast.
- Olive oil - To me, it has to be a good quality olive oil when making pasta. I use extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. That's simply a personal preference.
- Basil - Adds to the freshness of the dish.
- Pasta - We love Penne pasta, but obviously, any shape works great with this dish.
Step by step instructions
- Boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente, while you make the sauce. (usually about 11 minutes) – and set aside.
- In a skillet, over medium heat, add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for a minute. Add the bay leaves – saute for another 30 seconds.
- Next, add the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add the stock – stirring constantly.
Pro tip - keep the heat to medium-low. We want the flour to cook but not get darker in color.
- Then, add the chopped chicken. Cook on medium for 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink (if necessary add more water or stock).
Pro tip - we add the chicken now so we can keep the chicken white without any color.
- Then, add the green peas and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pro tip - if using carton stock or bullion then take note that these are high in sodium. So, use less salt when seasoning.
- When the chicken is cooked, add the Parmesan and Greyre cheese. Followed by the freshly grated nutmeg.
- Finally, add the boiled pasta. Give it a good mix to ensure everything is well coated.
Pro tip - if necessary add ¼ cup for the reserved pasta water but do not add too much as we do not want any excess sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve topped with more grated parmesan and chopped basil or parsley.
Frequently asked questions
This pasta will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. When you need to reheat it - add a few tablespoons of water to help the starch in the sauce blend again.
Boil water with salt in a large pot at least 4 times the quantity of pasta. So, 1 cup of pasta would need at least 4 cups of water.
Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and give it a good stir.
Let the pasta cook for about 8 to 12 minutes.
The best way to check pasta is to taste it. It has to be Al Dente - meaning soft but still have a bite.
Drain the pasta and set aside until ready to use it into the sauce.
Yes, you can. Personally, I like to cook the pasta separately so that I can take all the extra starch and water out of the pan.
If you choose to cook the pasta in one pot add just enough water to cook the pasta. And stir frequently.
Yes, of course, cut the beef into thin strips and add it to the pas at the same time as the chicken. However, cook it for a few minutes longer. I'd say about 6 minutes would be perfect.
You can add cream to make it a rich and creamier sauce, but as you can see in the video below, it is really not necessary. The sauce coats the pasta beautifully and the flour and stock make the sauce rich and creamy.
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1 lb = 453 grams, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 stick = 113g, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp= 5 ml,
- 1 lb (450 g) Pasta (penne or similar)
- 1 lb (450 g) Chicken
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ cup Onion (chopped finely)
- 1 teaspoon Garlic (minced)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon All-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 ml) Broth or stock
- 4 tablespoon (20 g) Parmesan
- 4 tablespoon (59.15 g) Gruyere
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 1 cup (145 g) Green peas (optional)
- 1 cup Olives (green or black)
- ¼ cup Basil leaves (chopped)
- Boil pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente, while you make the sauce. (usually about 11 minutes) – and set aside.1 lb Pasta
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil and saute the onion and garlic for a minute. Add the bay leaves – saute for another 30 seconds.2 tablespoon Olive oil, ½ cup Onion, 1 teaspoon Garlic, 2 Bay leaves
- Next, add the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add the stock – stirring constantly.Pro tip - keep the heat to medium-low. We want the flour to cook but not get darker in color.2 tablespoon All-purpose flour, 1 cup Broth or stock
- Then, add the chopped chicken. Cook on medium for 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink (if necessary add more water or stock).Pro tip - we add the chicken now so we can keep the chicken white without any color.1 lb Chicken
- Then, add the green peas and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.Pro tip - if using carton stock or bullion then take note that these are high in sodium. So, use less salt when seasoning.1 cup Green peas
- When the chicken is cooked, add the Parmesan and Greyre cheese. Followed by the freshly grated nutmeg and olives.4 tablespoon Parmesan, 4 tablespoon Gruyere, ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg, 1 cup Olives
- Finally, add the boiled pasta. Give it a good mix to ensure everything is well coated. Pro tip - if necessary add ¼ cup for the reserved pasta water but do not add too much as we do not want any excess sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve topped with more grated parmesan and chopped basil or parsley.¼ cup Basil leaves
Recipe Notes & Tips
- Chicken breast is best for this recipe as it cooks faster than chicken thighs.
- Cooking the pasta separately will make a nicer finished dish with just the right amount of sauce and starch.
- You can omit the green peas and use spinach or similar greens. These take the same time of about 3 minutes to cook.
Perfect boiled pasta
- Use a large pot of water when boiling pasta to prevent a mess on the stovetop.
- Use 4 times the amount of water for your pasta - For example, to boil one cup of pasta use at least 4 cups of water.
- Always bring the water to a boil before adding pasta or the pasta will be sticky.
- Salt the water generously more than you think you need as this is the only time you will be able to season the pasta on its own.
- Never add oil to the pasta when cooking. This will create a non-stick surface on the pasta that prevents the sauce from sticking.
- Pick the right pasta for the right sauce. For example, long pasta such as spaghetti for oil and tomato-based sauces, or penna and large shapes for cream and meat-based sauces.
- The pasta cooking time on the package is a suggestion - always taste pasta to know if it's done. Most dry pasta takes about 10 to 12 minutes while fresh pasta often takes less than 2 minutes.
- Pasta must be cooked "al dente", which means it must be tender yet have a bite.
- If you plan to cook pasta long before serving, it's a good idea to keep it a minute underdone as it will continue to cook with the residue heat in the sauce.
- Never drain the pasta into a colander and never rinse the pasta. Instead, remove the pasta from the pot (preferably directly into the sauce).
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you
Looking at the recipe, I don't see a measurement for the stock and it is not listed in the ingredients.
Hey Barbara, you will need about 1 cup stock or broth. Thanks
Chicken pasta is always our go to for a comforting meal.
Ours too. Thanks Dannii.