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Chicken and Spinach Pasta Skillet

A quick and easy dinner recipe that comes together in one pan (plus a pasta pot!). A creamy sauce loaded with chicken and fresh spinach.

A perfect meal for a busy night, this skillet recipe is pasta combined with chicken, spinach, and a creamy sauce. It’s simple to make and can be served with garlic bread and a green salad for an easy dinner.

penne pasta dish in steel pan

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s simple to make and can be on the table in under an hour.
  • Uses a skillet, so there’s only one dish to clean except the pasta pot
  • The creamy sauce is delicious and coats the pasta perfectly.
ingredients on cutting board

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

You’ll need the following for this easy skillet dinner.

  • penne pasta
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • Italian seasoning
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • crushed red pepper 
  • garlic cloves
  • chicken broth or white wine
  • heavy cream
  • fresh baby spinach
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 10-12 inch skillet
  • Colander
  • Spatula

🍴Instructions

Step One: Cook the pasta

In a large pan of salted boiling water, cook the penne pasta until al dente. After draining it, prepare the sauce and chicken.

Step Two: Cook the chicken

chicken on stovetop

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step three: MAke the sauce

process of making creamy sauce

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Then add the broth, cream and parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.

Step FouR: mix it up

spinach on top of pasta

Add the spinach and the hot pasta. Toss until the spinach has softened from the heat of the pasta. Serve immediately, topped with extra Parmesan (optional).

🥫 Storage instructions

Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave on low, with a little extra cream added. Like most cream sauces, leftovers aren’t ideal.

This recipe does not freeze well.

🔍 FAQs

How long should the pasta be cooked?

Just to al dente. You don’t want it to be too soft, as it will continue to cook a bit when you add it to the sauce.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes, any short pasta should work well in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I make this ahead of time?

It’s really best if you serve it immediately.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Make sure to use a large skillet for this recipe, as you’ll need the space to add all of the ingredients. If you’re serving a crowd, double the recipe and cook the chicken in two batches. You may also need to combine everything in a large mixing bowl.
  • If you don’t have any chicken broth on hand, you can use white wine instead. (It’s delicious with wine, actually.)
  • Be sure to use a good quality Parmesan cheese for this recipe, as it really makes a difference in the flavor.
  • Make this dish your own by adding other vegetables, such as mushrooms or bell peppers. You could also add a bit of spice by using hot Italian sausage instead of chicken.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

final dish close up

📖 Here’s the recipe

close up of saucepan of finished dish
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Chicken and Spinach Pasta Skillet

Print Recipe
A quick and easy dinner recipe that comes together in one pan (plus a pasta pot!). A creamy sauce loaded with chicken and fresh spinach.
Prep Time:45 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Equipment

  • 10-12 inch skillet
  • Colander
  • Spatula

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces penne pasta (half box)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth or white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the penne pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside while you prepare the sauce and chicken.
  • Cook the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken and the salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook in a single layer for 5-6 minutes, flippping halfway. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • Make the sauce. Add the garlic to the now-empty skillet and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the broth. Stir in the cream and parmesan and simmer for a minute or two until warmed through and the cheese has melted. Stir in the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Add in the spinach and pasta. Stir in the pasta. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh spinach until it wilts from the heat of the pasta. Top with more Parmesan and serve immediately.

Notes

If you’re serving a crowd, you can double this recipe.  You’ll need to cook the chicken in 2 batches, and you’ll probably need to combine everything in a large mixing bowl.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 443mg | Potassium: 431mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 734IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken spinach pasta recipe, easy creamy chicken pasta dish
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 441kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

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