Unveil a culinary masterpiece with our Asiago Chicken Pasta, featuring tender, seasoned chicken breasts artfully presented over a bed of rich and flavorful asiago pasta. Fresh spinach not only adds a burst of color but also introduces a delightful texture, making this dish a feast for both the palate and the eyes.
Ingredients & Innovations
Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the ideal base. Alternatively, chicken thighs can be used for a slightly different flavor and texture without compromising on deliciousness.
Pasta: While spaghetti noodles were the star in this recipe, feel free to experiment with your preferred pasta variety. Whether using store-bought options or crafting your own pasta shapes at home, the possibilities are endless. Ensure to reserve about a cup of pasta water after draining the noodles.
Red Pepper Flakes: Fear not, the red pepper flakes won’t overpower the dish with spiciness. Adjust the quantity to suit your personal preference. For a milder flavor, omit the red pepper flakes altogether.
Cheese: Asiago cheese, originating from northeastern Italy, brings a unique flavor profile to the dish. If unavailable, alternatives like grana padano, freshly grated parmesan cheese, manchego cheese, pecorino romano, gruyere, or cheddar can be used. These substitutes offer a similar flavor and texture to asiago cheese, enhancing the recipe.
Spinach: While fresh spinach is a personal favorite, thawed frozen spinach—squeezed of excess liquid—makes a suitable alternative. Feel free to experiment with additional vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, or tomatoes to elevate the dish further.
Unlocking the Secret of Reserved Pasta Water
Reserving pasta water is not just a step; it’s a crucial element for crafting a cohesive and flavorful dish. The starch from the water binds the cheese sauce and cooked noodles, creating a velvety and creamy texture that envelops every strand. This results in a dish where each bite boasts a full-bodied taste. So, adhere to this step for a truly satisfying experience.
Can Asiago Chicken Pasta Be Prepared in Advance?
Absolutely! Prepare the chicken in advance by letting it come to room temperature after cooking and then storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best used within 24 hours, you can easily reheat the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop or in the microwave when ready to incorporate it into the pasta.
Storing the Flavorful Creation
For optimal freshness, allow Asiago Chicken Pasta to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will maintain its quality for 3-4 days. When reheating, use a saucepan on the stovetop or a microwave-safe dish in the microwave. If reheating on the stove, consider adding a splash of milk to prevent the pasta from drying out.
- 1 pound (approx. 450 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 8 ounces (approx. 225 g) spaghetti noodles
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup (245 ml) whole milk
- 1 cup (80 g) grated asiago cheese, plus more for garnish
- 2 cups (60 g) fresh spinach leaves
- Parsley, for garnish
- Pat chicken breasts dry and season on all sides with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, place the seasoned chicken into the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature of 165°F or 74°C). Remove from the pan and tent to keep warm.
- Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Set the noodles and reserved pasta water aside.
- In the same skillet used for chicken, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour,
- Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute.
- Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Add asiago, spinach, and ¼ cup of pasta water or more if needed. Cook until the spinach is wilted, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes.
- Add cooked pasta, tossing to coat.
- Slice chicken into strips. Top the pasta with the sliced chicken.
- Garnish with asiago cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.