Tender pasta and chicken smothered in a creamy, garlicky white sauce – This Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken is a delicious and easy meal for any night of the week!
CREAMY GARLIC CHICKEN PENNE PASTA RECIPE
This chicken penne pasta recipe is a thing of beauty. Tender pasta and chicken coated in a rich creamy, and incredibly flavorful sauce with so much garlic – the aroma alone will have you melting.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN PENNE PASTA
The Pasta: Get a good quality penne pasta like De Cecco and cook it according to the instructions on the package. Usually the amount of time needed to cook is universal, but occasionally it can vary by brand. You want to cook to “al dente” which means that it’s tender but still has a bite to it. It shouldn’t be mushy at all.
The Chicken: Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and season them with salt and pepper. You could also cook the breasts whole, it will just take a bit more time. Cook them in olive oil or butter in a hot skillet until browned and cooked through.
The Sauce. The garlic cream sauce starts with a roux that’s turned into a Bechamel. There’s a ton of garlic cooked into it, for that deep garlic flavor you’d expect from something called Garlic Chicken Penne Pasta. To the cream sauce a little bit of Parmesan is added for another layer of flavor, and some chopped parsley for freshness and color.
HOW TO MAKE A BECHAMEL SAUCE
I love making cream sauces. It’s one of my favorite things to cook. I learned how to make cream sauces the easy way as a kid watching my mom and grandma. They always made it look so effortless, but the result was so creamy and delicious I knew it must be difficult.
A basic cream sauce, or Bechamel, consists of butter, flour, heavy cream and salt. Some add pepper or nutmeg for a slightly deeper flavor. Want to make macaroni and cheese from scratch – start with the bechamel and just add cheese. Simple as that.
To make this Creamy Garlic Penne Pasta with Chicken, the Bechamel is made with lots of garlic, and a little bit of Parmesan cheese. You can also make Alfredo sauce this way, although it’s not the “traditional” way, but it is a less heavy option versus the rich butter and cream.
HOW TO MAKE THE GARLIC CREAM SAUCE
A Bechamel sauce starts with hot melted butter in a large skillet.
The next step is adding a whole bunch of garlic. Six cloves to be exact. If you don’t love garlic as much as I do, you could cut that down to 1 or 2 cloves, but it will of course change the flavor from it’s intended garlicky nature.
Next flour is mixed in and that mixture is cooked until it starts to turn golden brown. This cooks out that icky flour tasted that you definitely don’t want coating on your dinner plate.
Finally chicken broth and nonfat milk are stirred in and brought to a simmer. You don’t want to risk burning the milk by boiling, but just bring it right to the edge when those little bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan.
Once it’s all nicely thickened so that it coats the back of your spoon, turn off the heat and stir in half of the Parmesan cheese. The other half will be added with the chicken and pasta.
It really is a simple process, which I’ve outlined in photos below. Easy peasy!
Once you’ve tossed the pasta and the chicken with all that cheesy goodness it’s time to dig in. We love this meal, because it’s easy, it’s quick and it’s super creamy and flavorful.
1 1/2poundsboneless skinless chicken breastcut into small pieces
1/4cupfresh chopped parsleyplus some for garnish
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil. Add chicken and season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside with the pasta.
Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt, then stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour and italian seasoning cook for about 1 minute or until golden. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and simmer for several minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in half of the Parmesan cheese until melted.
Toss the cooked pasta and chicken with the sauce to coat, then stir in remaining Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley.
Serve immediately, garnished with fresh grated Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.