Juicy chicken and colorful veggies star in this Chicken Pasta Primavera, all tossed in a rich Parmesan sauce that’s just too good to resist! It’s quick to whip up, making it a winning choice for busy nights when you want a tasty, light meal without the wait. Get ready for clean plates and happy faces!
Pasta Primavera Recipe With Chicken
I think I have finally made a pasta dinner that earned the top spot in our family favorites! Chicken Pasta Primavera strikes the perfect balance between creamy, cheesy indulgence and a good dose of crisp-tender veggies, paired with chunks of juicy chicken. It’s a dish that kids and adults will adore, and it’s packed with a colorful array of vegetables so it’s as nutritious as it is delicious. This dish is a winner, especially during spring and summer when the veggies are at their peak freshness. Plus, it’s a time-saver, making it a go-to for those bustling weeknights when you want a quick yet wholesome meal that pleases every palate at the table. Who says you can’t have it all!?
What is Pasta Primavera?
The name sounds authentically Italian, but Pasta Primavera is actually an American pasta recipe. It was invented in the 1970s by New York restauranteur Sirio Maccioni and is basically your favorite pasta noodles tossed with fresh vegetables and creamy sauce.
Ingredients For Chicken Pasta Primavera
- Pasta: Typically, I use 8 to 10 ounces of dry penne pasta for this dish. I also like to use Gluten Free Penne Pasta.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, for sautéing.
- Chicken: Cut 1 pound of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
- Zucchini: You’ll need 1 zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons.
- Grape Tomatoes: I like to cut these little guys into quarters, but you could also dice up a large tomato or a couple of plum tomatoes.
- Peas: Frozen peas work perfectly in this recipe.
- Dried Herbs: We’ll be using a combination of basil, rosemary, and parsley.
- Garlic: You’ll need four cloves of garlic, minced or pressed.
- White Wine: ¼ cup of good white wine makes this sauce magnifique!
- Cream: I use heavy whipping cream to give the pasta sauce a velvety texture and unforgettable flavor. Half and half will do in a pinch, but it won’t be as thick and flavorful.
- Parmesan: Use freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, if available.
- Fresh Basil: Chop a small amount of fresh basil for a fragrant, beautiful garnish.
How to Make Chicken Pasta Primavera
- Make the Pasta. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. When it’s done, set it aside until the sauce is ready.
- Cook the Chicken. While the pasta is cooking, heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then cook for 5 minutes in the hot oil.
- Add the Veggies and Dried Herbs. To the chicken, add the zucchini, tomatoes, and frozen peas; season with dried basil, rosemary, and parsley. Stir in the garlic, and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Deglaze the Pan and Make the Sauce. Stir the wine into the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cream, and cook for 1 minute.
- Assemble the Dish. Drain the cooked pasta, and gently stir it into the skillet. Top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil.
Tips for Success
- Perfect Pasta: Make sure to season the pasta water with a bit of salt for the best flavor, and don’t overcook the pasta.
- No Wine? No Problem! You can still make this recipe without the wine! Just use chicken broth or veggie broth in place of the stock, and add a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness.
- Use Thighs: You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe; they have the advantage of not drying out as easily. Dice them up for the best presentation.
- Veggie Swap: Pasta Primavera is great with almost any veggies. Mushrooms, asparagus, yellow squash, onion, and broccoli are all great options. Just cut them small so they cook up quickly.
- Pasta Variations: Feel free to sub your favorite pasta shape for the penne. Farfalle, rotini, and even fettuccine are all great options.
- Make It Meatless: Toss some extra veggies in the skillet to replace the chicken, if you like, or get even more creative by adding lightly pan-seared tofu instead of the chicken. Your pasta primavera will still have protein but will be completely vegetarian.
- Add Fish: You can add tuna to the finished sauce for a very upscale version of tuna noodle!
- Crank Up the Seasoning: Make a savory Cajun version of this recipe by stirring Creole seasoning into the sauce and the cream.
What To Serve with Pasta?
- Salad: Veggies for days! Keep a good thing going with a simple garden salad, or try this Chopped Egg, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad for something a little more special.
- Breadsticks: My Easy Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks with Dipping Sauce are a family favorite. You can also go keto with these Cheesy Keto Zucchini Breadsticks.
- Soup: A smooth, creamy bowl of Asparagus Soup is one of the best starters, especially with this light pasta dish.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- To store leftovers, place in airtight food storage containers and refrigerate for up to three days.
- To reheat, place leftovers in a covered skillet with a splash of water or milk, and reheat on low until heated through. Stir occasionally for even heating.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
More Pasta Recipes
Chicken Pasta Primavera
- 8 to 10 ounces dry penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes or long thin strips
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 to 2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
- chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- In the meantime, heat oil in a large 14-inch skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, add the chicken to the hot oil, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, and frozen peas; season with dried basil, rosemary, and parsley.
- Stir in garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the wine and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add cream and cook for 1 minute.
- Drain the cooked pasta, then stir the pasta into the skillet. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
- Remove from heat.
- Top with parmesan cheese, garnish with basil, and serve.
- Wine Substitute: No wine? Swap it with chicken or veggie broth and a splash of lemon juice. Grape Juice is also a good sub.
- Chicken Thighs: Consider boneless chicken thighs for a juicier alternative, diced for appeal.
- Veggie Choices: Mix in various veggies like mushrooms or asparagus; just chop them small for quick cooking.
- Pasta Options: Experiment with different pasta types like farfalle or fettuccine for a twist.
- Go Meatless: Replace chicken with extra veggies or pan-seared tofu for a vegetarian take.
- Add Fish: Elevate the dish with some tuna mixed into the sauce for a classy touch.
- Spice It Up: Add Creole seasoning to the sauce for a spicy Cajun flair.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.