Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

from 14 votes

Maximum flavor and minimum fuss join forces in a family-friendly recipe for Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta starring spinach and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in a garlicky Parmesan cheese sauce. It’s like an amped-up mac and cheese that comes together in one pot.

Creamy Tuscan pasta with diced chicken breasts, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach in a Dutch oven next to a small bowl containing Parmesan cheese.

Creamy Tuscan chicken pasta is essentially an adult spin on the comfort food classic we all know and love, stovetop mac and cheese! In place of the traditional cheddar sauce is a garlicky Parmesan sauce.

But there’s more! This creamy pasta stars juicy chicken breasts, crispy bacon, nutritious spinach and flavor-packed sun-dried tomatoes for a dish that’s perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or a special occasion meal.

It’s perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or a special occasion meal, and the best part is that everything cooks up in just one pot, which means it’s super easy to make and clean up after. All you need is a large pot and a few simple ingredients, and you’re well on your way to a delicious and satisfying dinner.

Why You’ll Love Tuscan Chicken Pasta

  • It’s a one-pot meal, making cleanup a breeze.
  • Leftovers taste just as delicious the next day, making it great for meal prep.
  • It’s a great way to sneak in some veggies for picky eaters.
  • It’s a budget-friendly meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
  • The creamy pasta sauce pairs perfectly with a glass of wine for a cozy dinner at home.
  • The recipe is quick and easy to make, perfect for busy weeknights.
Rotini pasta coated in a creamy Parmesan sauce with diced chicken breasts, sun-dried tomatoes and wilted spinach.

Ingredients

The key ingredients for this recipe are similar to my recipe for baked Boursin cheese pasta, but unlike that recipe that relies on the Boursin to create the sauce, we’re making a creamy white sauce from scratch.

Cooked chicken breasts on a plate next to various sizes of clear bowls containing pasta noodles, minced garlic, sour cream, crispy bacon pieces, sun-dried tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh spinach.
  • Short pasta: Choose a short pasta variety that can hold up to the rich sauce, such as rotini, bowtie, shells or penne. Swap: Gluten-free or whole-wheat pasta for a healthier twist.
  • Bacon: Render the bacon until crispy to maximize its flavor and texture. Swap: Turkey bacon or pancetta for a lighter option.
  • Chicken breasts: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for quicker cooking and easier serving. Swap: Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a more robust flavor.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic for the best flavor, but minced garlic from a jar works in a pinch.
  • Spinach: Not only adds color to the dish but also packs a nutritional punch. Frozen spinach should work as long as you thaw and squeeze out any excess moisture from it first. I use baby spinach 99% of the time when I make this dish, but if I only have kale on hand, I use that! Both greens work beautifully, so feel free to experiment with what you have.
  • All-purpose flour: Acts as a thickening agent, ensuring our sauce achieves the perfect consistency. Tip: Whisk it into the cream mixture gradually to avoid lumps.
  • Heavy cream: The foundation of our velvety sauce.
  • Sour cream: Adds just the right amount of tanginess to balance the richness of the velvety cheese sauce. Swap: Greek yogurt offers a healthier alternative with a similar tangy kick.
  • Parmesan cheese: I love the salty umami burst Parmesan brings to this dish. Grate it fresh from a block for maximum flavor and meltability.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil: Pat them dry with paper towels before slicing to remove excess oil.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Tuscan Chicken Pasta

The hardest part of this recipe? Deciding which shape of noodles to use! Pick your favorite and let the flavor party begin.

  1. Cook the pasta. Be sure to generously salt the water to enhance its flavor. Stir the pasta occasionally while it cooks to prevent sticking. To check for al dente doneness, taste a piece of pasta a minute or two before the recommended cooking time on the package.
  2. Cook the bacon. Cooking the bacon over medium-low heat helps to slowly render the fat without burning the bacon. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a bowl and set them aside. Leave all drippings in the pot.
  3. Cook the chicken. Avoid overcrowding the pot to allow the chicken to brown properly. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness; chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Remove the chicken to a plate and leave the drippings in the pot.
  4. Wilt the spinach, then add in the garlic. Be cautious not to burn the garlic, as it can turn bitter.
A blue Dutch oven with wilted spinach leaves and minced garlic on a stovetop.
  1. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir occasionally while the cream mixture simmers to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, then stir in the pasta.
  4. Add the diced chicken, along with the sun-dried tomatoes and reserved bacon. Stir to combine then serve.
Sun-dried tomatoes, crispy bacon, diced chicken and wilted spinach over pasta in a creamy white sauce in a blue Dutch oven.

Kelly’s Tips

  • Don’t be shy with the salt when boiling pasta water! It should taste like the sea to properly season the pasta as it cooks. This step is crucial for flavorful pasta.
  • Before I add the Parmesan cheese, I always take a quick taste of the sauce. Sometimes, a pinch of salt or a dash of pepper can really bring out those flavors and take the dish to the next level.
  • Pair your Tuscan chicken pasta with a crisp wedge salad and a crusty loaf of cheesy garlic bread for a complete meal.
  • Got leftovers? No problem! Store any extra pasta in the fridge for up to three days. When it’s time to reheat, add a splash of heavy cream to prevent it from drying out, and heat it gently over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Common Questions

Can I make this vegetarian?

Absolutely! If you’re looking to make this pasta recipe without the chicken and bacon, simply swap in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or olive oil and continue with the recipe as instructed.

Does this freeze well?

Yes indeed! This recipe for Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta can be made as instructed and then once cooled completely, stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Take it one step further by storing it in individual servings so that reheating a portion for one takes just minutes!

Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Just be sure to thaw and squeeze out excess moisture before adding it to the dish.

A Dutch oven with Tuscan chicken pasta with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

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Main Course

Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Pack big flavor into every bite with a top-rated recipe for Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta that's garlicky, cheesy, and loaded with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.65 from 14 votes
A large light blue pot containing Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 8 oz. uncooked short pasta, such as bowtie, penne or rotini 
  • 6 slices uncooked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and thinly sliced

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it until it is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
  • Add the bacon to a heavy-bottomed stock pot set over medium-low heat. Cook the bacon, stirring, until all the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a bowl and set them aside. Leave all drippings in the pot. (If less than 2 tablespoons are in the pot, supplement with butter or olive oil.)
  • Add the chicken breasts and cook on one side for 4 minutes then flip once and cook until cooked through, about 4 more minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and leave 2 tablespoons drippings in the pot. (If needed, supplement with butter, oil or bacon fat.)
  • Increase the heat to medium. Add the spinach. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the heavy cream and sour cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the Parmesan cheese, then stir in the pasta.
  • Dice the chicken then add it to the pot, along with the sun-dried tomatoes and reserved bacon. Stir to combine then serve.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Don’t be shy with the salt when boiling pasta water! It should taste like the sea to properly season the pasta as it cooks. This step is crucial for flavorful pasta.
  • Before I add the Parmesan cheese, I always take a quick taste of the sauce. Sometimes, a pinch of salt or a dash of pepper can really bring out those flavors and take the dish to the next level.
  • Pair your Tuscan chicken pasta with a crisp wedge salad and a crusty loaf of cheesy garlic bread for a complete meal.
  • Got leftovers? No problem! Store any extra pasta in the fridge for up to three days. When it’s time to reheat, add a splash of heavy cream to prevent it from drying out, and heat it gently over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition

Calories: 594kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 155mg, Sodium: 437mg, Potassium: 790mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3213IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 285mg, Iron: 2mg

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Comments

  1. I made this and I am the only one here, I totally enjoyed this. I am going to follow so I can get more enticing recipes.

    1. 2 stars
      Really a dullsville recipe. The flavor was so bland, even the addition of red pepper flakes couldn’t make this interesting. Too bad too, this was an expensive recipe to make.

  2. This dish is definitely a winner and I will make it and share. The only problem is I do not eat bacon and am wondering if I can substitute turkey bacon for the regular bacon and if not I will just eliminate the bacon and use olive oil.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I added a few more veggies & used Italian sausage instead of chicken. I added nutmeg to season. & pine nuts. loved the crunchy bacon!

  4. 5 stars
    This was great! I added broccoli too and seasoned the chicken with adobo, garlic and onion powder, and paprika!

  5. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite and I’d like to make it for somebody who’s watching carb intake. Thoughts on substituting spaghetti squash? Would I need any alterations, possibly adding chicken or vegetable broth?

    1. Hi there! I’m not sure how the spaghetti squash would mix with the sauce since I have’t tried that substitute.

  6. I made this and it’s out of this world yummy! Tastes like something from a restaurant! To save time on this recipe, as I have two toddlers, I omit the chicken, and buy a bag of bacon bits. I can get this all cooked in under 20 minutes that way! I also use cheese tortellini for the pasta. Second time making it tonight snd I can’t wait to eat it!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Kelly,

    Do you remember me? I made that butterscotch sauce on your site 3 months ago. Made this recipe for tea today. I substituted the spinach for leeks And added mushrooms to the recipe as well and used wholemeal spaghetti. I used Quorn chicken and bacon in this recipe and skipped the sour cream so just used heavy cream as I’m half vegetarian and half vegan and eat slot of Quorn as well and used grated mature cheddar instead of parmesan. A highly heavenly scrumptious recipe. Thank you Kelly.

    1. You are so welcome, Kevin! I’m thrilled you enjoyed this recipe, and I’m so glad you’re continuing to enjoy Just a Taste!

    1. 5 stars
      Made this for dinner tonight and it’s better than a similar pasta dish I had out at a restaurant! I didn’t add the sour cream but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Highly recommend

  8. 5 stars
    Loved it! I had to use fresh tomato instead of sun dried and it was delicious. Will definitely make again.

  9. 5 stars
    Love it! Had to use up Arugula and yogurt so subbed those in. Definitely making this again. Perfrct for a quick cozy dinner ♡

  10. 5 stars
    I made this as written (except I was out of sundried tomatoes so I used fresh) and it was really good. My family said they’d like it if I made it again. It would be really nice with some other vegetables too.