20-Minute Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta - The easiest and most flavorful weeknight meal! Comforting, warming, and delicious. Did I mention how quickly ever gobbles it up? Oh yeah.
This time of year, saucy kinds of pasta are my best friends. We mingle together almost every night, sometimes every other night just to make sure the hubs doesn't see us getting a little too close. Ha. Seriously. Saucy carbs this time of year is heaven. It's a stick to your ribs, almost, kind of meal. It's warming and hearty.
Lately, I have been devouring one-pot chicken and mushroom fettuccine alfredo, 15-minute one pot taco pasta (one of our favorites), and our beloved spinach lasagna roll-ups! See how saucy or even cheesy carbs are delicious this time of year?
The sauce is the mastermind behind this entire recipe. It's this sauce. It has diced tomatoes, frozen spinach, rotisserie chicken, garlic, Italian spices, homemade chicken stock, and, of course, the cream. It's so delicious, and you will not believe how quickly it comes together. Can be made in just 20 minutes!
All you need out of your busy schedules is just 20 minutes to have a saucy dinner on the table ready for your family to scarf it down.
It's even easier when you purchase a rotisserie chicken on your way home from running errands or coming from work. Not time to make homemade stock? No worries, pick up a carton while you are picking up the other ingredients.
There is one time I do know! We all need this incredibly easy 20-minute Tuscan chicken and penne pasta in our lives. No need to go out to a fancy restaurant when we can make it at home, even better!
I have been eyeing this pasta cookbook forever and my taste buds are telling me I need it now. Then again my brain kicks in and says, "Chelsea. Do you need it? I mean your body?" Ha. The story of my life people. I always crave and make the things I do not need, but who can resist saucy pasta? Not me.
So instead of using heavy cream, I thought I would do myself a little favor and use fat-free half & half. It just made me feel a little better. So that's just go with that. Mmmkay?
I thought you needed to get a little up close and personal to see just how delicious this pasta is. Another thing I want to mention, see the red dutch oven? Yep. I am still in love with this thing and use it every single day. You can see it used in many of my most recent pasta and soup recipes!
20-Minute Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta – The easiest and most flavorful weeknight meal! Comforting, warming, and delicious.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- ½ large onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried basil
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken
- ½ cup half & half
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 16 oz box penne pasta
- diced tomatoes, to garnish
- fresh basil, to garnish
- parmesan cheese to garnish
Place the oil, garlic, spinach, and onion or onion powder in a 6-quart dutch oven. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with salted water. Allow the water to boil, then add the pasta.
Add the oregano, thyme, pepper, salt, basil, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock to the dutch oven. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then stir. Add the chicken and stir.
In a small bowl, whisk together the half & half and flour together, making sure there are no clumps. Stir the flour mixture into the sauce, stirring continuously well mixture is combined.
Allow the sauce to simmer until the pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes.
Drain the pasta, add the pasta to the sauce and stir.
Garnish with diced tomatoes, fresh basil, and parmesan cheese.
Nutrition estimated is based upon the brands I used. Yours may vary depending on brands.
oh hello, my pretty! This looks delicious! Did you throw the spinach in frozen? Or did you thaw it and dry it out first? Thanks!!
I used frozen spinach from our local warehouse, BJ's, and their frozen spinach is measured into smaller chunks. If you are using a 10-ounce block of chopped spinach, I would thaw it before adding it into the dish. Enjoy, SaraLily!
Jo VonRue says
I am wondering if it would be possible to substitute Orzo pasta for the Penne... I don't really like Penne, but could to Bow tie instead if you think that the small Orzo would not work, going to try this tomorrow!!
Hi, Jo! You can swap out the penne for the orzo! Enjoy! 🙂
I used mini Farfalle (bowtie) pasta. It worked nicely, I also used 2 chickens, and 3 cans of DelMonte basil, garlic and oregano diced tomatoes. I added garlic powder, fresh basil and oregano to my family's taste. Came out great! Thanks!
This looks delicious! I am going to make it tonight. Do you think fat free half and half would also work?
Sure, Suzanne! Enjoy!
Marg B says
I used shells because that’s what I had, and it turned out fine. I also used fresh spinach.
Pat Strube says
need to print a friendly small receipe
Hi, Pat. You can print just the recipe on the recipe card under the photo, should say PRINT. Hope that helps! 🙂
Tried out this recipe last night and I can proudly attest that this pasta recipe is THE BOMB! I swapped out the chicken for shrimp, clam, ans mussel. (: This one is a keeper!
I'm coming over to your house for dinner, Megan! Seriously. That sounds AMAZING!
Hi I'm just wondering if you drained the cans of tomatoes or left the fluid...
Hi Jackie! You should drain the tomatoes.
I love recipes that use a rotisserie chicken, so easy for a weeknight dinner!
Karen Ruprecht says
Made this for my family of diverse picky eaters and it was a hit with everyone! Very simply to put together and the outcome was full of complex flavor light but satisfying. Defiantly a keeper! Thanks!
So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Karen!
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
That sauce looks heavenly!
Love!!! I scaled it down to a two person serving. It didn't come out as creamy as I'd hope. Any suggestions for thickening the sauce?
Hmmmm. I would say maybe use a little more half and half and for thickening the sauce make sure you are using enough flour.
I needed something that I could make with my Rotisserie Chicken & came on Pinterest for a recipe. I’m so glad I found I made this for tonight’s dinner. It was so easy to make & the taste delicious. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I plan to share it with my girls so they can make it for their families.
Thank you for sharing, Chelsea.
nicole @ I am a Honey Bee says
I want to dig right in!
Me too, Nichole!
Great sauce on this pasta dish - reminds me of an old place in San Rafael called Carlos - they had a similar house pasta that was to die for. Creamy tomato goodness.
Can I use fresh spinach?
Sure, Christina. Use about 2-3 cups. Enjoy.
This looks amazing! Have you ever tried it using zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta?
Great question, Amber. I have not tried it with zucchini noodles. I would think there would be too much sauce because the pasta noodles do soak up a little of the sauce.
Made this tonight, thought it was great! Used a whole 16 oz bag of cut leaf spinach and petite diced tomatoes as per preference. The whole bag made the recipe look different than yours but I enjoy a lot of spinach. Next time I would add more chicken, maybe close to double, and possibly some roasted red peppers! Thanks for dinner!
Yum! So glad you enjoyed it, Katie!
Samantha Kent says
First of all let me say that my fiance and I hate tomatoes but are trying to venture out of our comfort zone and this dish was a hit!! It was EASY and tasted like something from a restaurant. I used fresh herbs and spinach and just winged the amount of all them and added some mozzarella. Very good thanks for sharing!
Sounds like my hubby! So glad you both enjoyed it, Samantha! 🙂
Made this last night - quick and YUMMY! My picky 24 year old son even like it!
That's great to hear, Kathy!! It's a favorite around here. 🙂
Hi I know might be dumb but curious did you use a rotisserie chicken uncooked or did you buy one already cooked?
Great question, C.K! The chicken needs to be cooked already. 🙂
Do you have to use chicken?
You can omit the chicken, Rania.
I want to make this but could I use heavy cream I already have?
Megan @ MegUnprocessed.com says
This is a great recipe for a week night meal!
Serena (Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch) says
Seriously delicious! I can't wait to try this!
Wanda Lopez says
What an amazing and hearty recipe!
Looks great! Trying it tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!
I'm unable to eat spinach/kale/other leafy dark green vegetables. What vegetable would you suggest as a replacement or just leave it out?
Hi, Gail! I would recommend leaving it out.
Tami G says
Checkout Dreamfield pasta...low carb item...it's pretty good stuff for a little bit healthier pasta. This recipe looks amazing...ty for sharing.
Thanks for sharing, Tami!
Savannah H says
Can this be made in the morning, put in the fridge, and reheated during dinner?
Hi, Savannah! Sure! Enjoy!
Would kielbasa or italian sausage go well with this dish or is it better with a white meat like chicken?
Hi, Dorothy! I haven't tried it with kielbasa or Italian sausage. They both sound like delicious options! Please let me know how you like it with either of those meats! 🙂
Can the stock be substituted for water?
It can, Lizzy. I do not recommend substitute it for water, though.
I made this tonight and my family loved it! I forgot to drain the tomatoes so I just let it cook down a little longer. My kids scarfed it up and my husband kept going back for more! Great wholesome work night dinner. I'm new to your blog, but have noticed you don't use processed foods in your recipes...and I LOVE that! Thanks!
So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Laura! It's a staple in our family, as well. We try to stay away from processed foods as much as we can, sometimes I do use them occasionally. But we love making our food from scratch, tastes so much better!
Mmmm! I know what I'm making tonight!! I will do chicken and shrimp, but can I use fresh spinach?! My boyfriend doesn't care for frozen spinach. 🙂
You certainly can, Jasmine.
Why frozen spinach as opposed to fresh?
We made this last night and LOVED IT! I'm horrible at burner multitasking though and completely forgot to turn the burner on for the water! So the sauce mixture cooked for awhile and sat for a bit covered while I cooked the pasta, but everything was still great! <3
That's me when too many things are going on...HA! So glad you enjoyed it, Marissa!
Is it possible to make this recipe gluten free?
Hi TL. I'm not familiar with gluten-free cooking, but if you can substitute it with gluten-free pasta and flour, then I think you can. Good luck! 🙂
I made this tonight and we loved it! I just had rotini pasta and it worked well. I didn't have heavy cream or half and half so I melted down an equal amount of cream cheese, which worked great. All of the tomatoes and basil were from our garden- no canned stuff. Instead of rotisserie chicken, I used 2-3 large boneless chicken breasts (thawed) x 375 degrees for 25 mins in the oven, and then cut them into cubes. The real parmesan cheese grated thick on top was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe!!
If you do not have a Dutch oven can you use a deep large skillet with a lid?
You most certainly can, Katie! Enjoy.
Made this tonight and it was delicious! Even my kids liked it.
Used fresh spinach instead of frozen, but otherwise followed it exactly as written.
Oh my, delicious!!!! Will make again for sure! I used fresh spinach and it was great!!!
Sounds delicious. I have everything except the spinach. Think I have broccoli in the fridge though so...Thanks for the recipe.
Made this with some leftover smoked chicken and homemade smoked chicken broth. I subbed brussel sprouts for spinach (it's what we had on hand) and used fresh herbs from my garden. Was quite tasty. I've been eating out the dish even though it's about five hours until dinner. 😀
Husband and I loved it! Followed the directions and it turned
out great. Will make again and maybe even try other meats in
this excellent sauce! Will share, for sure!
Yay. So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Barb! It's a family favorite with us.
I cooked my pasta in the sauce by not draining the tomatoes and adding 2 additional cups of chicken broth (4 cups total). Yea for one pot meals!
Well, I have to say, that was a pleasant surprise. I never made a red sauce that I didn’t simmer for an hour or more, as I was sure it was necessary to let the flavors meld, and to thicken the sauce. But, hey, I had a rotisserie chicken and not much time, so I gave it a try. Delicious! The flavor was excellent, and the sauce thickened nicely, even though I only used regular milk in the flour. Thanks for proving me wrong!
So glad you enjoyed it, Katy! It's one of my favorites. 🙂
Can you substitute fat free half and half?
Sure, Suzanne! Enjoy!
WOW! I made this tonight for the family and they all loved it! I modified based on what we had because COVID, but tried to hold true to the recipe as a start. I changed/modified by adding some chicken caprese sausage, to supplement the chicken. I didn't use all of the spinach because that is what I had. After about 8 minutes of boiling the pasta, I put it into the sauce because 1. I ran out of water/broth and 2. there was a lot of extra sauce. Instead of the cream/flour, I added 8oz. of cream cheese. Honestly, everyone in my family loved all parts of it! My pickiest kid asked me to make this again, and SOON! Love it!
This was delicious! I made substitutions based on what I had on hand and personal preferences, but kept the main recipe in tact. I used rotisserie chicken AND a caprese chicken sausage because I have 2 teenage boys. I also subbed 8oz. cream cheese for the half and half and flour so I wouldn't have to go to the store. The sauce was rather well, saucy, so with a little time left on the pasta, I threw the pasta into the sauce. Next time, I think I'll just do that from the beginning and make it a one pot meal. We all really enjoyed it, and my pickiest son asked for it to be made often!
So glad you enjoyed it, Amy!!
This was amazing! I used whole wheat penne and fresh spinach. It was a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken and much more exciting than my usual veggie stirfry. 🙂 Thanks for posting this!
Very good recipe. I made half the recipe since there were only two eating. I used fire roasted tomatoes.
Becky P says
Good but a little bland. Could use a little something with a kick so I might try adding my cajun spice blend to it. I did really like the spinach and the thickness of the sauce was perfect.
Shanda Cooper says
This was so quick to cook and tasted like you spent hours making it. I didn't have spinach b like I thought so I left it out. I was going to do greens be it didn't have any of that either. I also didn't top with fresh tomatoes either. Having said that it was still Soooooo good. I will add this to my week night meals.
I just made this for dinner and it was delicious! I halved the recipe since it's just 2 of us and it still made so much I'll have leftovers. I added chopped mini bell peppers as I had a few left so it added a nice texture to the dish. Came together quickly, tasted great and the husband liked it.