This is the recipe most requested by my friends. Anyone who tries it, asks for the recipe. It is just so stinking good. We have it every couple weeks, because if I wait too long between eating it, the cravings get too strong to bare. I’ve only ever made this gluten free, but I’m not sure why you couldn’t use regular rotini noodles if that’s your thing.
My Little Trick for Cooking Gluten Pasta
Anytime I cook gluten free pasta, of any brand or type, I cook less than the recommended time. I like a firmer noodle that keeps its shape in my recipes. Overcooked gluten free noodles get too weak and can start to break apart. Whatever the box of noodles says, I cook for ONE MINUTE LESS than the Al Dente recommended time. That might scare you, but so many people are surprised to find out my noodles are gluten free, and I think it’s because of this little trick.
Frozen or Fresh Spinach
I prefer fresh spinach, because duh, who wouldn’t. But, this recipe is awesome because everything can be regularly found in my pantry or freezer except the spinach. I keep some frozen bags of spinach in my freezer just in case I’m craving this recipe and don’t have fresh on hand. This means I can cook this recipe anytime without depending on specific fresh produce. And yes, I always have many jars of sun-dried tomatoes in my pantry just so I can make Tuscan Chicken Pasta whenever the mood strikes.
When you use frozen spinach, you need to thaw, rinse, and then squeeze dry the spinach. The drying part is essential with frozen spinach, because you don’t want a bunch of spinach water ruining the taste. I squeeze the spinach over the sink with a clean dish towel or paper towel until I think there’s no more water left to squeeze out. Also, chop the frozen spinach as finely as you can reasonably do. You want that beautiful green color and all the health benefits of spinach, but you don’t want a big bite of once-frozen spinach.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes WITH OIL
Remember when sun-dried tomatoes were super trendy? I don’t hear about them so much anymore, but I never fell out of love with them. Still, I try to chop these finely so that they blend with all the other flavors beautifully and just become one of the flavors in the sauce and not the overwhelming flavor.
Most sun-dried tomatoes come in a jar covered in oil. I strain out that oil and use it in the recipe, so there is no waste of that magnificent flavor.
And now … drum roll please … Tuscan Chicken Pasta!!!
Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- 1 box gluten free Rotini pasta
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 8.5 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt (or less to taste, if chicken broth is salted)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne red pepper
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 5 oz fresh spinach, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Cook Rotini according to “al dente” instructions on box, though cook for at least 1 less minute than suggested on box; drain and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, separate tomatoes from oil.
- Finely chop tomatoes, onion and spinach; set each aside separately.
- Thinly slice chicken; set aside.
- Prepare chicken broth by combining with remaining spices in small bowl; set aside.
- When pasta is finished, drain and set aside; then use same pot to prepare chicken and sauce.
- Add the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in empty pot, turn heat to medium-high. When onion is hot, add oil. Cook onion for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add chicken, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook chicken, still stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until chicken is mostly cooked through.
- Stir in chicken broth with spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. (Thinly sliced chicken should be fully cooked at this point, but always double-check.)
- Stir in cream cheese until fully melted, then stir in spinach.
- Remove from heat, combine with pasta and parmesan cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. My kids love when there’s leftovers for their lunch! If I knew I could make recipes like this 3.5 years ago when my first child could no longer eat gluten, I wouldn’t have been in such a panic. Fast forward to now, when all of my kids are diagnosed, I think we eat pretty fantastic gluten free food … if I do say so myself. 🙌
From my home to yours,