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.
Table of contents
❤️ 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.
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
- black pepper
- crushed red pepper
- garlic cloves
- chicken broth or white wine
- heavy cream
- fresh baby spinach
- grated Parmesan cheese
- 10-12 inch skillet
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
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
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
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.
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.
Yes, any short pasta should work well in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
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
- Chewy sourdough rolls are perfect with a yummy pasta dish
- A make-ahead side is always nice with a quick dinner. Try my cucumber salad recipe.
- Finish your meal with a sweet slice of peach apple pie
📖 Here’s the recipe
- 10-12 inch skillet
- 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
- 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.