Recipe: Parmesan Pasta with Chicken

After my post on dinner cheats, I felt the need to prove to all of you (really, myself) that I do actually (sometimes) cook dinner for my family.

I really do like to cook, but I am not a Martha Stewart chef. I’m not into recipes that send me to three different specialty grocery stores and into the woods to forage for rare ingredients. I don’t have time to babysit simmering sauces on the stove by constantly stirring for 15 minutes. I can’t be held responsible an entire list of crucial measurements. And I definitely do NOT want to spend more time cleaning up after a meal than we actually spend eating the meal.

All my go-to recipes have to pass my FED test—fast, easy and delicious. That last one is key, because it doesn’t matter how fast or easy it was, if no one likes it then it wasn’t worth the time and energy to make it.

Here’s a new recipe I threw together last week that passed my FED test with flying colors.


Antonio’s Parmesan Pasta with Chicken

Serves 5-6

(Ok, ok. I made up the ‘Antonio’s’ part but it helps sell it, don’t you think? Feel free to rename it with your own fictional Italian uncle’s name.)

Here’s what you need:

3-4 raw chicken breasts cut roughly into 1” cubes

A package of your favorite tubed pasta

6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Few cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 stick of butter

Splash of milk (use cream if you’ve got it)

1 ½ cups of Parmesan or something similar (if you want to up it to 2 cups, I won’t tell)

Chopped basil (fresh if you have it, any type of dried Italian seasonings if you don’t)

Salt and pepper


Here’s how you make it:

Heat up a pot of water on high heat for your pasta. While waiting for that to boil, heat up a large skillet on medium-high with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Stir occasionally making sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes. Move the cooked chicken into a bowl. This is where other recipes would tell you to tent with foil. The chicken will be just fine, let’s move on.  

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and return to the med-high heat on the stove to make the sauce. If you’re short on time, you can speed things up by cooking the sauce and the chicken in separate skillets at the same time but I prefer fewer dishes to wash.

Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir until it’s toasted and smells garlicky. While that’s happening, salt your boiling water (I promise it makes a difference) and add your pasta. 

Next, add the butter, milk and cheese to the skillet. 

Stir until smooth, which only takes a few minutes. 

Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir until your pasta is coated. 

Finally, throw in the cooked chicken and stir until it’s mixed with the cheesy pasta. 

Plate, top with chopped basil and serve. Mama mia! 

Oh, don’t mind them. Those are just my boys chowing down on seconds of this dish.

Fast, easy, delicious. Check, check, check.