Chicken Piccata Pasta is a light and vibrant dish packed with the citrusy tartness of lemon and the tangy taste of capers. This versatile pasta is elegant enough for date night and quick and wholesome enough for a family on the go. Enjoy it with a glass of white wine or some grape juice for the kids.
Looking for a classic chicken piccata? Try this stovetop chicken piccata recipe. It’s ready in 30 min!
Lemony Chicken Piccata With Pasta
Chicken piccata and pasta are a match made in heaven, so why not put them together? This recipe takes the classic Italian favorite and turns it into a quick and easy one-pot meal without sacrificing its simple elegance. With unbreaded chicken and no butter needed, this dish is light and healthy yet still packed with bright flavor.
Lemon is the perfect flavor to add to chicken because the acid helps to tenderize the meat, making chicken breast so tender it falls apart in your mouth. Its crowd-pleasing flavors make chicken piccata pasta a hit with guests, dates, and even the pickiest eaters. Since it has a built-in side dish, it doesn’t take much to round this dish out into a full meal.
What is Chicken Piccata?
Chicken piccata is a classic Italian dish that’s often served with a side of pasta. The word piccata literally means something cooked in a sauce made with lemon, butter and capers. In our recipe, we replace the butter with olive oil and milk to make it just as creamy and rich but much healthier. Plus, we add the pasta right in with the chicken to cut down on cook time!
All the ingredients in this quick dish last a long time on the shelf, so it’s easy to stock up on them. That way, you have them on hand for whenever you need a quick and easy meal. See the recipe card for precise amounts.
- Olive Oil
- Chicken Breast: Cut into cubes.
- Salt & Pepper
- Shallots: Chop them finely.
- Garlic: Use whole cloves.
- Chicken Broth: Choose low-sodium and fat-free broth to make this dish healthier.
- Lemon: This is used in several ways to really bring out the flavor.
- Spaghetti Noodles: If you use non-standard noodles, make sure to follow the cooking directions on the package.
- Milk: Anything with less than 2% fat content won’t work.
- Parmesan: Optional garnish.
- Chopped Parsley: Optional garnish.
What Kind of Noodles Are Best?
This dish works best with a sturdy kind of pasta so that you get some chicken piccata and tangy sauce each time you take a bite. Long noodles like linguini, fettuccini and spaghetti can wrap the ingredients up and hold them in place. Penne and the spiral-shaped fusilli or cavatappi also help to pack the flavor into each bite.
How to Make Chicken Piccata Pasta
For this quick dinner, we start with the chicken piccata, then move on to preparing the pasta, and finally bring it all together. Everything will be ready to plate in 30 minutes or less!
- Prep Your Materials: Set the stove to medium-high heat and add the olive oil to your nonstick pot or dutch oven. Dice up your chicken, mince your garlic, and chop your shallots while the oil is heating.
- Add the Chicken: Once the oil is heated, add your chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir frequently.
- Time for the Garlic & Shallots: Add the shallots and garlic and stir for 1 additional minute.
- Add Lemon Juice & Chicken Broth: Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and bring the pot to a boil.
- Pasta & Capers: Lower the heat to medium and stir in the raw pasta and capers. Cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the fully-cooked pasta.
- Stir in Milk: Add the milk and stir for another minute.
- Garnish & Serve: Plate the pasta and use the parmesan cheese, parsley and three slices of lemon to garnish each portion before serving.
Tips for Success
This dish is easy to make and hard to mess up, but there are definitely ways to make it even simpler. Use these handy tricks to make sure it comes out great every time.
- Tenderize the Chicken: Before cubing your chicken breast, try tapping it with a rolling pin to flatten it slightly. This will allow it to cook more evenly and absorb more flavor.
- Use Fresh Lemon: Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice to make chicken piccata pasta. Bottled lemon juice is too concentrated and can ruin the sauce.
- Low Sodium Options: Use low-sodium chicken broth if you’re trying to cut back on salt in your diet. Another way to lower the sodium is to rinse the capers in cool water before you add them.
Add-Ins and Variations
This dish is a classic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be adjusted to make it a perfect fit for your dinner plans. Here are a few things you can do to shake things up.
- No Capers? No problem! If you don’t have capers in your pantry, or just don’t like them, they can be substituted for sliced gherkins, green olives, or artichokes. Anything with a briny tang would work perfectly.
- Add Some Veggies: If you’re looking to get in more vitamins and minerals or trick the kids into eating their greens, adding vegetables to your chicken piccata pasta is a great way to do that. Sliced brown mushrooms and halved cherry or grape tomatoes are a great option, and you could also add some extra parsley to the pot while it’s cooking.
- Substitute the Chicken: Pork tenderloin is another thin cut of meat that can be used in place of the chicken if you feel like something a little heartier, while tofu is a great vegetarian substitute for chicken breast. Be sure to check the cook times for any substitutes and adjust accordingly. You can also completely swap the chicken out for veggies.
Make It a Meal
Since chicken piccata is an entree normally served with pasta on the side, this mash-up of the two doesn’t take much to make a complete meal. This Heirloom Tomato Salad compliments the bright flavors of the citrus and parsley, while rounding out your dinner with some added vitamins and minerals. A refreshing Radish Cucumber Tomato Salad has the same benefits, and the radishes will also bring some bite to offset the more subtle flavors of the pasta.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can store chicken piccata pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days after it has cooled completely. Sometimes it’s even better the second day, since the pasta and chicken have that extra time to soak up the flavor. When you’re ready to eat it, just pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it’s warmed through.
Does This Freeze Well?
This recipe is best when eaten fresh. Freezing the lemon and caper sauce can lead to curdling when you take your pasta out to thaw. If you have leftover chicken, you can freeze that separately and make the pasta and sauce fresh when you’re ready to use it.
Chicken Piccata Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
- 1 whole lemon juiced and grated
- 8 ounces dry spaghetti pasta
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- thin lemon slices (optional) for garnish
- fresh grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or a nonstick pot.
- Add chicken to heated oil and season it with salt and pepper; cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink.
- Add shallots and garlic; continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add chicken broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil.
- Stir in spaghetti and capers; lower heat to medium and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is cooked.
- Stir in milk and cook for 1 minute.
- Garnish with lemon slices, grated parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley.
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.
More Crave-Worthy Pasta Dishes
Looking for something new to add to your pasta rotation? Try one of these other hearty recipes.