One-Pot Wonders

One-Pot Spicy and Creamy Chicken Pasta

February  2, 2018
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

When you’re using whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta, high quality makes all the difference. (My favorite brands are Sfoglini and Rustichella d'Abruzzo.) And, I know, I’m asking you to chop a lot of herbs here. I like a hefty portion because it cuts the richness of the sauce. However, if you go with just parsley and basil, it’s quick to get to 1/2 cup.

Featured in: A Creamy, Spicy Pasta Dish to Warm Your Soul. —Lindsay Maitland Hunt

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, plus more, for serving
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (340g) short whole-wheat pasta (penne, rigatoni, and macaroni are my favorites here)
  • 4 cups (960ml) chicken stock or water
  • 2 cups (390g) shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley, sage, and basil, plus more, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots, Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper), salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and golden, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the pasta and stock (or water), cover, and bring to a boil. Remove the lid and cook, stirring frequently and making sure there’s no pasta stuck to the bottom of the pot, until the pasta is almost tender and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. (This will depend on the brand and shape you’re using.) Stir in the chicken and cream and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in the herbs, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  3. Serve hot, sprinkled with more herbs and Aleppo pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Chris Seggerman
    Chris Seggerman
  • leecy
  • Dan Earixson
    Dan Earixson
  • Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
    Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
  • FrugalCat

27 Reviews

Leila August 8, 2023
huh??? I love this website, but did we miss something? This was essentially spicy water-cream pasta. We were wildly disappointed
Chris S. July 13, 2023
Great use for cooked chicken breasts. When split breasts are cheap I buy in quantity and pressure-cook them for stuff like this.

I used a mix of basil, parsley, oregano and wild thyme, and substituted half a red onion for shallots (I forgot them).

Interestingly Sfoglini's whole wheat pasta comes in a 12 oz. box anyway. I saw some reviews say this comes out soupy but the pasta absorbs the water as it cooks, and sheds starch. Zoodles won't do that. The sauce also accounts for 2 cups cooked chicken so you will need two cups of something for the sauce.

Do keep stirring so stuff doesn't stick. I deglazed the pan with a little stock before adding the rest of it and the pasta.

This also has no tomato, and my wife doesn't like red sauce, so this wins for letting me use my herb garden and being less tomatoey.
leecy August 24, 2021
There was too much liquid. I used 12 oz of pasta and it was like soup. I had to strain it. I didn't like this recipe, but I would definitely cook the pasta separately if doing it again.
Dan E. February 12, 2021
Y'all - this recipe? A stone-cold knockout. I poached two big organic chicken breasts with a bunch of seasoned salt and a bay leaf before making the dish, because 1. I find the store bought rotisserie chicken at my local supermarket tends to be pretty dry when shredded and 2. it makes the stock to cook the noodles in! Also, the whole wheat pasta is key here, the starch from the pasta mixes with the butter and stock and turns into it's own super-flavorful sauce, the cream and lemon at the end just brighten and enhance the whole thing. I also put in a splash of sherry because . . . sherry. Served it with roasted broccoli and warm, crusty bread. Unreal.
Rebecca K. March 4, 2019
Prepared this last night with gluten free penne (I had leftover chicken I wanted to use up), and it was a hit. The combination of flavors - red pepper flakes, lemon, cream and chicken - melded perfectly. My husband said he would expect to see this meal at a fine Italian restaurant! Cooking the pasta in chicken broth eliminated the blandness that sometimes comes with gluten free.
FrugalCat May 18, 2018
I added mushrooms and chopped bell peppers too. Next time I will try some broccoli florets. This was creamy and certainly a keeper!
Kim April 17, 2018
this was so delicious!! I added mushrooms and peas. Just need to watch closely as the pasta does tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Jenni February 28, 2018
So, are you using rotisserie chicken from the grocery store? Or am I wrong to assume the shredded chicken is precooked?
ali February 15, 2018
Delicious as is! I used parsley and basil. Thank you!
Rhonda35 February 13, 2018
Super-easy and delicious! I made two very slight changes: added the pasta to the shallots and let the pasta toast for about a minute before adding the stock/water. The other change was a sprinkle of grated Parmesan prior to serving. I was not a fan of Martha's one-pot pasta, but I sure am glad I gave this a try! Thanks Lindsay!
Gina B. February 12, 2018
Any word on the herbs recommended in this recipe? They call for many - but don't really specify how much of each. ("1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley, sage, and basil, plus more, for serving") Seems like this could make or break the dish. Does anyone have any favorites that seem to work really well? Did you use all of the herbs that were called for?
at Y. February 11, 2018
looks like a nice two italian grandmothers would tell you that "macaroni" is not a IS the pasta itself......
Leslie S. February 8, 2018
I know, I always use the whole box too. The portobello mushrooms would be great add. For a bit more color add some sliced roasted red pepper and zucchini. Or if you are avoiding pasta, make zucchini noodles. This is a nice versatile dish.
Susan R. February 8, 2018
I agree with Kevin. If I don't cook the full 16 oz box, it will go to waste. This sounds delicious and will be making this in the near future ! Love Aleppo pepper.
judy February 14, 2019
No, never goes to waste. There are only two of us. I have been cooking 1/2 ponds of pasta for years. The rest of the pound saves easily in my kitchen storage containers. I general
ly uses Lock&Lock. But the past keeps beautifully. That is dried. I would guess that fresh would not. But I am happy to use dried pasta. Keeps well for a very long time--months- if stored properly.
Kevin B. February 8, 2018
A box of pasta is 16 ounces, usually, unless it’s from Italy, then it’s .5 kilos. Why are recipes being printed that use less than either of those amounts? Food & Wine does this a lot, too. I don’t leave partial boxes lying around, I use the entire box. I can do the math to scale it up, I just don’t get why the recipes don’t use the whole box.
cookinalong February 8, 2018
Kevin, I'd double check the labels on any pasta you've purchased lately. I have a few boxes of Ronzoni pasta I must have purchased a few months ago, and recently stocked up on it at a sale from my local supermarket. A new box of Ronzoni bowtie pasta is 12 oz...the old one is 16 oz. I didn't keep the receipt, but I double if the 12 oz. box was cheaper. And the boxes are exactly the same size! Hmmm. I've noticed the same thing about coffee. I recently bought some Chock Full O' Nuts coffee and it's not 12 oz., not 16 oz. Ditto for Maxwell House.
Kevin B. February 8, 2018
Ronzoni? Not what I’d use, never. I stick with D’Cecco, Barilla, or Rustichella. The first two at 16 ounces, the last either .5 kilo, but sometimes .25 kilo.
cookinalong February 9, 2018
I stand corrected. I had no idea Ronzoni was such an abomination.
Linda S. February 13, 2018
Here I am, hanging my head in shame and embarrassment. What was I thinking, using Ronzoni all these years!
Linda S. February 13, 2018
Bottom line, I use what my grocery store has available but I avoid store brands
Linda S. February 13, 2018
And I was very snarky, and I apologize. I realize that my response was inappropriate. Sorry.
Dianne March 17, 2021
I don't think you have anything to apologize for. Old Kev up there was being snooty :)
Alice S. February 8, 2018
I'd like to make this vegetarian. Suggestions? Just leave out the chicken? Alternative additions?
EmMa February 8, 2018
I would cut the chicken out and sauté some sliced portobello mushrooms with the shallots -- they have such a good "bite," and they'll enhance the earthy/smoky flavor combination this dish is all about.
Heatherjoy K. February 8, 2018
thank u! I don't eat chicken so this is a very welcomed idea!!!!!
Karin A. February 8, 2018
I wanted to eat this the minute I saw it, but don't have chicken so I roasted some cauliflower and onions and tossed them in at the end.....OH YUM! What a fabulous alternative! I'm eating it as I type, thinking I may not ever make it with the chicken ;)