Combining chicken and pasta, or other noodles, is an easy way to make a meal. Both components generally cook quickly, allowing you to spend more time on sauces and other ingredients that will transform your humble chicken and pasta into a delicious dish. Plus, both keep well, meaning tonight’s dinner can become tomorrow’s lunch. Keep reading for seven simple ways to pair chicken and pasta.
1. Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo
Inspired by Italian cooking, Eating Well created this recipe for chicken with orzo. Romano cheese was used, which Cheese.com says has a sharper and saltier flavor than Parmesan. This recipe will yield 4 servings and takes roughly 30 minutes to prepare.
- 8 ounces orzo, preferably whole wheat
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), divided
- 1 plum tomato, diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1 to 1¼ pounds)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
- ½ cup finely shredded Romano cheese, divided
Directions: Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse. Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, 2 teaspoons marjoram, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out ½ cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts, and 6 tablespoons cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.
2. Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Recipe
Cajun season will spice up your chicken and pasta dinner when you use Taste of Home’s recipe. If you need a substitute for fettuccine, Good Housekeeping has this guide for various types of pasta. To swap for fettuccine, you’ll want another sturdy, thick noodle like tagliatelle.
- 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1 medium green pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
- 4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo sauce
- ½ cup spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion and peppers in oil until tender. Add the chicken, Cajun seasoning, and garlic; heat through. Transfer to a large bowl. Drain fettuccine; add to chicken mixture. Stir in Alfredo and spaghetti sauces.
Transfer to a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until golden brown.
3. Three Cheese Penne Pasta Bake
The next time you want to make a cheesy baked pasta, don’t reach for the elbow macaroni noodles. Instead, throw together Kraft’s pasta bake packed with three different cheeses and chicken.
- 1½ cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 package (9 ounces) fresh spinach leaves
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 jar (14 ounces) spaghetti sauce
- 2 ounces (¼ of 8-ounce package) Neufchatel cheese, cubed
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt and adding spinach to the boiling water for the last minute.
Meanwhile, cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and spaghetti sauce; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat for 3 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Stir in Neufchatel.
Drain pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and ½ cup mozzarella; pour into 2-quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through; top with remaining cheeses. Bake for 3 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted.
4. Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken
Creamy Alfredo sauce tops off chicken and fettuccine in SparkRecipes’ pasta that will feed and please a crowd. It yields 10 one-cup sized servings. Mushrooms pair well with the sauce and pasta, or you could add peas.
- 16 ounces fettuccine
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 10 fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups milk (such as 2 percent)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Prepare fettuccine according to directions; toss with 2 tablespoons butter. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter (2 tablespoons) in large sauté pan. Add chicken, cut into bite-size pieces. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
Stir in flour, parsley, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Add milk; stir continuously while bringing it to a boil until mixture thickens slightly. Add fettuccine and Parmesan cheese, tossing to coat.
5. Chicken Parmesan
Knock the socks off of those gathered around your dinner table by making chicken Parmesan. Cooking Light’s recipe is a step above average, calling for a simple homemade tomato sauce. It will serve 4.
- 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans unsalted petite-diced tomatoes, drained
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- Torn basil leaves (optional)
Directions: Preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. While pasta cooks, place tomatoes in a food processor; process until almost smooth. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1½ teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and 3/8 teaspoon salt; cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chopped basil. Toss 1 cup sauce with pasta; keep warm.
While sauce cooks, split each chicken breast half horizontally to form 2 cutlets. Combine flour, garlic powder, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt. Sprinkle tops of cutlets with half of flour mixture; pat evenly onto cutlets. Turn cutlets over. Sprinkle with remaining flour mixture; pat onto cutlets. Shake off any excess flour. Place egg in a shallow dish. Combine panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano in another shallow dish. Dip cutlets in egg; dredge in panko mixture.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned and done. Place chicken on a baking sheet; top evenly with mozzarella. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Arrange about ½ cup pasta mixture on each plate; top each with 1 cutlet and about 3 tablespoons remaining sauce. Sprinkle with torn basil, if desired.
6. Lemon Pasta with Chicken
The Neelys kept it simple in this Food Network recipe. The whole dish comes together in about 30 minutes, and that quick preparation won’t sacrifice flavor. A little goes a long way when it comes to garlic and lemon, and each lends their flavorings to the recipe, which yields 3 to 5 servings.
- 1 pound dried penne
- 2 chicken cutlets, cut into fingers
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
Directions: Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large grill pan over medium high and add chicken. Grill until golden and completely cooked. Remove to a plate and slice. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to a saute pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and saute until fragrant. Add the cooked pasta and turn heat off. Mix all together. Remove pasta to a large bowl.
Add chicken to the warm pasta and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in chopped parsley. Add the juice of 2 lemons and mix. Before serving, top with Parmesan.
7. Sautéed Chicken with Herbed Soba
Forget the fettuccine for a minute, because Martha Stewart is taking your chicken dish to Japan with soba noodles. Made from buckwheat, soba is gluten free, making this noodle and chicken dish suitable for a variety of diets. This recipe serves 4.
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 ounces chicken cutlets
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 package (8.8 ounces) soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
Directions: In a food processor, finely chop scallions, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and ginger with vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer to a bowl.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season chicken with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Working in batches, cook, turning once, until opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board; let cool 5 minutes, and thinly slice.
Cook soba according to package instructions. Drain; toss with herb mixture. Serve chicken with soba; garnish with cilantro.