Simple ingredients of pasta, chicken, garlic, and Parmesan combine to make weeknight dinners into an easy, one pot recipe the whole family will love!
Tis the season of the crud. We’re all a little under the weather in my house — all except for Piper, who will have been without a trip to the pediatrician in an entire year. She has made it from her 6 year well-child visit to her 7 year well-child visit and I’m excited about that! A healthy child is a wonderful thing and in the girls’ earlier years, we were constantly at the pediatrician. And Shea had 1 visit between this year and last for an ear infection. All told, this is impressive stuff! I’m looking forward to them seeing the doctor romorrow and I didn’t think I’d ever say that about the pediatrician! 😉
In preparation for company coming this weekend, we’re hydrating, hitting up the viamin C and zinc, and generally just trying to rest and be well. That will include a night out of the kitchen and the rewarming of these garlicky leftovers!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Pasta Fans: There’s always room for another pasta recipe in my heart! Pasta tends to be a food that kids and adults equally love making it great recipe to serve the family.
- Garlic Lovers: There is no shorage of garlic flavor in this recipe, however you can certainly add more or less based on your personal preferences or the preferences of those you’re serving.
- One-Pot Meals: Whipping up this Parmesan garlic chicken pasta in a single large skillet or Dutch oven is one of the biggest reasons you’ll fall in love with this easy meal!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken: This recipe uses quite a bit of boneless, skinless chicken breast. You can certainly swap in other cuts of chicken, such as boneless skinless chicken thighs, or even shredded rotisserie chicken that can be added at the end along with the cheese to simply warm through.
- Butter: Use an unsalted butter variety to control sodium when browning the chicken pieces. A vegan butter, olive oil, ghee, or other cooking oil if your preference will be a fine substitute.
- Italian Seasoning: Use more or less Italian seasoning, as you prefer. A few shakes of dried oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley works, too!
- Garlic: With thanks to simple ingredients and mild flavors, the fresh garlic in this recipe dominates with flavor in the best way possible! Feel free to use jarred minced garlic or substitute in 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder, if you prefer.
- Broth: Use a low-sodium variety of chicken broth or chicken stock so you can best control the level of sodium. You can absolutely substitute in vegetable stock or broth, as well as beef stock or broth.
- Pasta: Using a larger shape pasta, such as penne pasta, helps achieve an al dente pasta. You can certainly use a different shape, or even a whole wheat variety. Expect to add an additional cup of water and add 5-10 minutes onto the cook time.
- Milk: Whole milk offers a bit of fat to avoid the dairy from curdling or separating with the high heat while still being lower in calories and saturated fat than half and half or heavy cream. That said, any of those options work great to create a creamy pasta sauce.
- Cheese: A hard, shredded Parmesan cheese will not clump like a mozzarella and will provide strong flavor making a creamy Parmesan sauce. A romano, pecorino romano, or parmiggiano-reggiono would all work well.
- Parsley: A bit of fresh parsley provides a fun pop of color and a touch of fragrance as a finish. This dish is a bit monotone in presentation, so a hint of color elevates the final product. Fresh basil or even chopped fresh spinach would work well, too!
- Using ample chicken provides a better balance of carbohydrate and protein. Many one-pot pasta meals call for only 16-20 ounces of protein which lends to a heavier carbohydrate meal and a bit less macronutrient balance.
- With less than 450 milligrams of sodium per serving, this recipe is rather low in sodium.
- Garlic and its health benefits are widely accepted, but interestingly, garlic is also helpful in fighting various bacteria and viruses!
I don’t have Italian seasoning. Can I make my own?
Certainly! Most people have in their pantry the spices that are included in Italian seasoning — basil, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, and sometimes even sage and/or crushed red pepper. Here’s a recipe I’ve used and love!
Do I put a lid on the skillet or Dutch oven as the pasta cooks?
No, leave the lid off and stir often to ensure nothing sticks or burns to the bottom of the pot.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- I served this recipe with garlic bread and steamed artichokes. A Caesar salad or garden salad would go beautifully, too.
- For additional flavor, you can add a splash of white wine when the chicken is nearly finished cooking. A bit lf lemon zest or a shake of crushed red pepper flakes are great additions too, all adding amazing flavor!
- To make this creamy sauce a bit more rich and decadent, consider adding 2-4 ounces of cream cheese when adding the milk.
- To add veggies to this recipe, you can include onion, shallots, bell peppers, or brussels sprouts to the skillet along with the chicken when cooking. Remove to the plate before cooking the pasta and add back at the end as directions read for the chicken.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb uncooked penne
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Once hot, add the chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Brown the chicken for 4-5 minutes, adding the Italian seasoning and garlic once no pink remains. Continue cooking until chicken is nearly cooked through, another 1-2 minutes; remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Return skillet or Dutch oven to the stove and add the broth, water, and penne; increase heat to high. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- When most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, add the milk and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- Add back in the chicken and the shredded Parmesan; stir and cook for 1-2 minutes to heat through. Serve topped with parsley.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 recipe (scant 2 cups)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 10.3gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 44.5gFiber: 2.3gSugar: 3.9gProtein: 38.3g
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