This delightful recipe combines tender strips of chicken with creamy richness of Alfredo sauce, vibrant baby spinach, and perfectly cooked penne pasta—all in a single skillet.
I love one skillet meals, especially in the Fall, and I know you do too! Our One Skillet Chicken Alfredo with Penne Pasta and Spinach is a harmonious blend of creamy, savory, and fresh flavors. The dish has a homemade classic Alfredo sauce (with a few spices for an added twist) that’s made from heavy cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese.
This sauce coats every nook and cranny of the penne pasta, which is why I chose it over traditional fettucini. Thin strips of chicken are sautéed for quick, even cooking, and the addition of baby spinach brings a burst of freshness, contrasting the richness of the sauce.
Let’s get started, here’s what you’ll need:
- Ingredients: chicken breasts, penne pasta, olive oil, butter, garlic, heavy cream, chicken broth, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, dried Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and fresh baby spinach.
- Workspace: Prepare your workspace by ensuring you have a large skillet for cooking, a cutting board and knife for slicing the chicken and measuring cups and spoons for the liquids and spices.
How to Make One Skillet Chicken Alfredo with Spinach
Step 1: Slice the Chicken
- Begin by slicing the boneless, skinless chicken breasts into even strips and set aside.
Step 2: Sauté the Chicken
- Start by adding some fat to the pan – we are using both olive oil and butter. The oil cooks the chicken, while the butter adds flavor as well as gives the chicken that golden color.
- Saute the chicken and seasonings until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm by covering with foil or a lid from a pot.
Step 3: Infuse Flavor
- Add the garlic to the pan and another Tbsp. of butter if needed. There should be at least a Tbsp of fat in the pan. Here’s a helpful tip: ensure the heat is on low. Garlic can easily burn, and overcooked garlic can ruin the dish. As soon as you catch that garlicky aroma, it’s your cue to move on to the next step.
Step 4: The Creamy Base
- Pour in a mix of heavy cream and chicken broth to create the creamy base. Once it comes to a boil, quickly turn it to a simmer.
Step 5: Add the Penne Pasta
- Stir in the penne pasta, which will soak up the creamy sauce as it cooks. Make sure to stir the pasta or else it will stick to the bottom of the pan.
Step 6: Melt the Cheeses
- Once the pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened, it’s time to add the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. These cheeses melt together to form a dreamy, creamy sauce.
Step 7: Meet the Greens
- Finally, toss in the fresh baby spinach and give everything a good stir. Taste for seasonings and add a little more salt and pepper if it’s needed.
Step 8: It All Comes Together
- Return the chicken (and the juices) to the pan and incorporate with the penne and alfredo sauce.
Tip for Beginners: If you’re new to cooking, remember that this dish is remarkably forgiving. Don’t stress over the details; just focus on enjoying the process. Follow the steps, and before you know it, you’ll have a fantastic, restaurant-quality meal ready to impress your taste buds.
- Pasta: Experiment with different pasta types such as whole wheat penne or gluten-free penne.
- Protein: Besides chicken, consider using shrimp, or thinly sliced Italian sausage to add a twist to the dish.
- Greens: Instead of baby spinach, you can opt for arugula, kale, or Swiss chard for varying flavor profiles.
- Cheese: While Parmesan and mozzarella are classic choices, explore different cheese options like Gruyère, fontina, or Pecorino Romano for a unique flavor.
- Sauce Thickness: Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding more heavy cream for a creamier consistency or reducing it for a thicker texture.
- Flavor Enhancers: Add sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or sliced mushrooms for extra depth of flavor.
- Heat Level: Customize the spice level by sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes for a subtle kick.
Storage and Reheating: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, adding a splash of cream or chicken broth to maintain the sauce’s creaminess.
WANT MORE ONE SKILLET MEALS?
- One Skillet Parmesan Orzo with Chicken, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes: A flavorful one-pan dish that combines tender chicken, vibrant spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes with orzo pasta, all generously coated in a Parmesan-infused sauce for a delightful Mediterranean-inspired meal.
- Weeknight 20 Min Mongolian Beef: An easy weeknight favorite, this Mongolian beef recipe comes together in just 20 minutes, featuring thinly sliced beef cooked in a sweet and savory sauce, perfect for satisfying your Asian cuisine cravings in no time.
- One Skillet Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta: A hearty, one-skillet meal featuring savory ground turkey and pasta smothered in a gooey cheese sauce, perfect for a quick and comforting dinner.
One Skillet Chicken Alfredo with Penne Pasta and Spinach
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This delightful recipe combines the creamy richness of Alfredo sauce, tender bites of chicken, vibrant baby spinach, and perfectly cooked penne pasta—all in a single skillet.
- 1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken breasts, cut into strips
- 8 oz. Penne pasta
- 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ Cup Grated Mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon Dried Italian seasoning (or a mix of dried basil, oregano, and thyme)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon of the Italian seasoning. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until it’s no longer pink in the center, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
- In the same skillet, add minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Pour in the heavy cream and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the penne pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens, about 12-15 minutes. If the liquid reduces too quickly, add a little extra chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, as well as the remaining Italian seasoning. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted, and the sauce is creamy and well combined.
- Return the cooked chicken to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Add the fresh baby spinach to the skillet and gently fold it into the hot pasta and sauce. Allow it to wilt and incorporate into the dish.
- Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Remove the skillet from heat and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken further.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
- Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 500-600
- Sugar: 2-4 gr
- Sodium: varies on broth used
- Fat: 25-30 gr
- Carbohydrates: 30-40 gr
- Fiber: 2-4 gr
- Protein: 30-40 gr
- Cholesterol: 100-125 mg