Chicken Florentine Pasta
The nostalgic buffet-favorite Chicken Florentine, easy to prepare at home, as complete meal, with bowtie pasta coated in flavorful saucy Chicken Florentine sauce.
Posted By Savita
Chicken Florentine Pasta, an easy creamy chicken and pasta dinner recipe with bowtie pasta coated in lightened-up fresh spinach Florentine Sauce and black pepper chicken. Needs only 15 minutes of prep. Perfect for weeknights.
My version of Florentine Sauce is special. It creamy yet lite with delicious flavor of star-ingredient - spinach. Just three things make all the difference:
- To lighten-up the sauce, I replace heavy cream with half-and-half. (half the cream and half the milk).
- Add herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken stock to add more depth of flavor.
- Use fresh spinach instead of frozen to control the amount of liquid in the sauce.
The resulting sauce is perfect to coat pasta and has amazing flavor of spinach. Every bite just melts in mouth.
I highly recommend trying the recipe. Needs only 15 minutes of prep. Cut the dinner time in half by making ahead sauce up-to a week in advance. Cook chicken in advance or use rotisserie/grilled chicken. On weeknights, cook fresh bowtie pasta, heat sauce, add chicken. Wallah! Dinner is ready to devour!
I words of Ina Garten, "How easy was that?!"
So, let's make some Chicken Florentine Pasta tonight!
CREAMY CHICKEN FLORENTINE SAUCE
Florentine (in food context) means food served on bed of spinach. The signature Florentine Spinach Sauce was my inspiration to make this creamy chicken Florentine Pasta. Like I mentioned, to lighten-up the sauce, I replaced the heavy cream in sauce with half and half i.e. part heavy cream and part milk. This also makes sauce right consistency to work with pasta.
For lite homey summer dinner flavor, I flavored the sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and chicken stock. A subtle tang of sun-dried tomatoes helps cut the richness and make sauce extra-special. You will love the flavors.
TIP: If you don't have sun-dried tomatoes, use zest of a lemon. You can also fold in fresh cherry tomatoes in the sauce.
FROZEN VS FRESH SPINACH?
Any day, I will choose fresh spinach over frozen. Simply because I always have fresh spinach in refrigerator as we love using it as base for summer salads.
Specially for Florentine sauce, fresh spinach is better than frozen. Frozen thawed spinach still holds lot of water and is not that easy to squeeze. No mater what, it will retain some water. This water can dilute the sauce or bland the flavor for sure. In Florentine sauce, spinach is the star. So, to control the amount of liquid in sauce, I used fresh spinach. I cook fresh spinach with pinch of salt and a tsp oil in skillet until it is wilted. Then let it drain while I prepare the rest of sauce. This helps to make much silky and never-watery.
Let me summarize why should you try this Chicken Pasta tonight!
- Easy to prepare with only 15 minutes of prep.
- Creamy yet lite sauce. Perfect for summer dinner.
- Delicious and versatile Florentine Sauce loaded with spinach flavor. Make once use multiple ways. Make Florentine Pasta, Florentine Pizza or serve as dip with Garlic Bread.
- This recipe is a true example of make-it-your-own Pasta Dinner. Use any kind of protein: fresh cooked chicken, rotisserie or grilled, shrimp, or even skip chicken and add some broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and red bell peppers for vegetarian florentine pasta dinner.
MORE CHICKEN AND PASTA DINNER RECIPES:
If your family is Chicken and Pasta dinner fan like ours? I have few more delicious recipes to try:
- Chicken Bellagio with Creamy Sauce Pasta
- Chicken Paprikash with Pasta
- Thai Curry Chicken Noodles
- Parmesan Chicken Caprese
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Chicken Tequila Fettuccine
- Chipotle Chicken Cream Sauce Pasta
Try something different for dinner tonight. I have made nostalgic buffet-favorite Chicken Florentine easy to prepare at home as complete meal. Pasta with flavorful saucy Chicken Florentine. Drop a message and share with me your favorite Chicken and Pasta Dinner?
Chicken Florentine Pasta
- 120 Grams Spinach (about 4 cups, fresh baby spinach)
- 1 Cup Cream, half and half (or use all heavy cream. See Note 1)
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp Garlic (fresh 4-5 cloves, minced)
- 1/4 Cup White Onion (small diced)
- 3/4 Cup Four Cheese Blend (Or use shredded Asiago-Fontina Cheese half and half.)
- 4 Sun-dried Tomatoes (oil packed, small diced. Plus 1 tbsp of oil)
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- Parsley (fresh chopped)
- 1 lbs Chicken (boneless, breast or thigh)
- 1/2 lbs Pasta (Farfalle Bowite or Penne Pasta)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Black Pepper
1. Cook Pasta - Bring pot of water to rolling boil. Season with salt. Cook pasta for 10-12 minutes or until just al-dente. Once cooked, drained. Set aside.
Additional NotesReserve a cup of pasta water to dilute sauce or fresh pasta if needed.
2. Saute Spinach: Heat a large deep saute pan on medium heat. Add 2 teaspoon oil, and fresh spinach with generous pinch of salt. Work in 1-2 batches to saute fresh spinach until it is wilted. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Set aside.
3. Cook Chicken: Wipe the skillet clean. Add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of sun-dried tomato oil. Heat on medium heat. Season chicken thighs with generous sprinkle of salt and good coat of black pepper. Place in hot skillet. Cook each side until nice crust develops and chicken is cooked through. Take out in a plate and set aside. (See Note 2)
4. Make Florentine Sauce: Add remaining oil to pan. (No need to clean pan again) Add chopped onion. Saute until onions are soft (2 minutes) Add garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes with dried oregano. Saute for 1 minute. Don't let garlic burn. Add half-half (milk-cream) and chicken stock. Bring to boil, and simmer until sauce thickens. (3-4 minutes) Mix shredded cheese and chopped drained spinach. Stir to distribute quickly.
5. Assemble and Serve: Taste and season the sauce with salt and black pepper. Add drained pasta. Coat in the sauce. You can also mix in chicken or serve on the side. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy.
- Heavy Cream vs Half and Half: For lite sauce, I use Half and Half. Half and Half means half heavy cream and half whole milk. You can use ready-to-use Half and Half, or mix half heavy cream with half milk.
For a more rich sauce use all heavy cream.
- Black Pepper Chicken: Cover chicken liberally in black pepper. Sear chicken undisturbed in hot pan until crust develops. Don't flip chicken until it leaves the pan itself.
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