Everyone loves pasta and what makes it even better is that it’s one of the easiest and simplest recipes to make. Pasta dishes can easily become a luxurious dinner item with the addition of meats, veggies, and spices, or any other item you can add to spruce up the meal. So, whether you’ve had a long day and simply want something quick and easy to cook up, or you’re entertaining guests with a three course meal you spent all day slaving in the kitchen to prepare, check out these delicious pasta recipes to make your dining experience feel like a five-star restaurant.
Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta
Photo Credit: cookingclassy.com
Add some nutritional value to your pasta with asparagus, and spice up the flavor with some crushed bacon flakes. A perfect way to add some flavor to every day noodles, this recipe is sure to have your guests inviting themselves back for more.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded with mallet to even thickness
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more for sauce
12 oz penne pasta
1 lb asparagus, trimmed of ends, remaining diced into 2-inch pieces and steamed
1 1/2 Tbsp butte
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half and half
3 oz Neufchatel cheese (aka light cream cheese), diced into pieces
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
4 – 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled into small pieces (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together basil, oregano, thyme and 1/4 salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the herb mixture evenly over tops of chicken. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken to skillet, herbed side down, then add remaining herb mixture to tops of chicken. Cook chicken until fully cooked through, about 8 – 12 minutes, occasionally rotating chicken (time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts. If chicken is browning too quickly reduce heat to medium low as needed). Transfer cooked chicken to a plate, let rest 5 minutes then dice into pieces.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions listed on package, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
In a clean skillet (large and deep), melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer, stirring constantly. While whisking, slowly pour in milk then cream (whisk vigorously to break up clumps). Season with salt and pepper to taste (a fair amount of each) and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it reaches a boil and thickens, reduce heat to medium-low, add Neufchatel and parmesan cheese and cook, stirring frequently, until cheeses have melted.
Toss in cooked pasta, then add cooked chicken, steamed asparagus and bacon and toss to evenly coat. Add in reserved pasta water as desired (it will thicken as it rests and the pasta will absorb the liquids, so add up to 1/2 cup as needed). Serve immediately.
Recipe via Cooking Classy
Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti
Photo Credit: Gimmesomeoven.com
Great for the traditional pasta lovers of the world, this recipe only requires six ingredients and promises to warm your guests from head to toe on the coming winter evenings.
12 ounces of your favorite pasta
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
1 (25 ounce) jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and tomato sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated.
Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the basil. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and sprinkle immediately with the remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve warm.
Recipe via Gimme Some Oven
Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Baby Kale
Photo Credit: Spoonfulofflavor.com
A tangy, creamy recipe, this is a must have for any standard recipe book. Even the kids will be asking for seconds!
1 pound chicken breast cut into one inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 ½ cups uncooked penne pasta
2 cups chicken broth
¼ cup water
3 heaping cups kale
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons freshly squeeze lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a 12” pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chicken to pan and cook until brown on both sides. Stir in garlic and cook one additional minute. Add uncooked pasta, chicken broth, water and baby kale. Stir then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 22 minutes. Uncover and cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 additional minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Recipe via Spoonful of Flavor
Saucy Creamy Mac and Cheese
Photo Credit: recipetineats.com
You can’t talk about pasta without including the age-old classic of mac n’ cheese, and we’re not talking about ready-to-go box of mac and cheese. Check out this recipe for a delicious and easy mac and cheese dish that can be made all in one pot.
4 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp flour
3 cups of milk
2 cups of water
1 tsp of salt
½ lb of dried macaroni
2 cups grated tasty or cheddar cheese
1 cup grated provolone dolce cheese
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Melt the butter in a deep fry pan or skillet over medium heat.
Add the flour and stir until combined so a thick paste forms (“roux”). Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add half the milk and use a whisk to dissolve the roux into the milk. It will thicken quickly, then add the remaining milk. Whisk in small circles, rotating around the pan, to dissolve all the roux into the milk.
Add the water, salt and 5 grinds of pepper, then turn the heat up to medium high. Whisk leisurely so the bottom doesn’t stick to the pan. When the white sauce starts to steam and thickens such that you can see it coating the edges of the pan (around 2 to 3 minutes), add the macaroni.
Turn the heat down to medium and stir gently with a wooden spoon to mix the macaroni through and ensure the bottom doesn’t stick. Cook it for 1 minute. Be sure not to cook it for longer than this after adding the macaroni – this really impacts the “sauciness” of the dish and ensuring the macaroni isn’t overcooked.
Cover the fry pan then transfer it immediately to the oven on the middle shelf.
Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven. It will seem like there is too much sauce but it reduces and thickens in the next steps. The pasta should be just cooked (al dente). It will continue cooking from the residual heat.
Turn the oven off and turn the grill/broiler on high.
Stir through the cheese, just enough to disperse it through the macaroni. As you stir, this will melt the cheese and thicken the sauce. Don’t stir too much because otherwise the sauce will thicken too much due to the evaporation.
Sprinkle over the panko and parmesan cheese, then place under the grill/broiler for a few minutes to brown.
Remove from the grill/broiler and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.