This chicken and pasta recipe is easy, colorful, and fast.
Guests to my home usually know that when they arrive I’ll be in the kitchen. I’ve had a bad habit of being overly-ambitious and trying to make complicated meals that take lots and lots of time.
In our current home, that’s OK. We have an open floor plan, so even if I’m slaving away over a hot cutting board, I can still interact. We also have a good-sized kitchen, and since everyone ends up there anyway, it’s not a huge deal if I’m still prepping.
However, when I’m focused on cooking, I’m not focused on them.
With this chicken and pasta recipe, I can be in and out of the kitchen in less than thirty minutes, giving me more time to have real conversations instead of being distracted.
Because this chicken and pasta with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and basil is super fast to make, it’s perfect for those nights when you’re done with cooking because you’ve made 839 meals in the last twenty-one days.
It’s also versatile. You can make it with linguine, rotini, penne – whatever you have in your pantry. Same goes with the cheese. I’ve used shredded parmesan, crumbled goat cheese, and feta.
You can add whole basil leaves or roll them up and slice them, chiffonade-style.
chiffonade: shredded or finely cut vegetables or herbs used especially as a garnish
I take that laissez-faire approach with most of my cooking. I want it to be fun, and it’s OK if I switch one ingredient for another and it’s not perfect.
My cooking isn’t perfect. But it’s made with love, and that means it’s delicious.
How to make Chicken and Pasta Recipe with Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil
The first thing you’ll want to do is gather all of your ingredients. This comes together pretty quickly, so having your mise en place is a good idea.
mise en place: French for putting in place, or “everything in its place.”
You can either use raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, or if you made a roast chicken, you can use that. Just shorten the cooking time below since the chicken is already cooked.
First, you’ll cook the pasta according to the directions. You can also cook the pasta while you’re doing everything else so it doesn’t have to sit.
Tip: If you do prepare the pasta in advance, drain it and then return to the pan and toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking.
Saute the chicken until it’s cooked (or warmed through) and remove it from the pan into a clean bowl.
Add a touch of oil to the skillet. When it’s shimmering, but not smoking, add the asparagus. ONLY saute this until it’s bright green. Mushy asparagus is gross.
Toss in the tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes are preferred, but if all you’ve got is roma? Use ’em. Only canned diced tomatoes? Drain the liquid (Save for another use. You could pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze for some future sauce.) and use those.
Cook those briefly. A little longer if you’re using canned. Add the white wine or broth and simmer for about a minute.
Turn the heat to medium-low and stir in your garlic. You have to watch this. Garlic burns easily and burned garlic is nasty. If you’re cooking on an electric stove top, you might want to remove the pan from the heat at this point.
Once you can smell the garlic, remove the skillet from the heat (if you haven’t already) and toss with the chicken, pasta, saving a little of the basil for a garnish. Top with cheese and eat!
- 8 oz uncooked pasta (rotini, linguine, whatever floats your boat)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup asparagus cut into 1" pieces
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or roma tomatoes, or whatever you have on hand)
- 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 more tbsp EVOO
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) crumbled goat cheese OR shaved parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta, drain, stir with about a teaspoon of EVOO to prevent sticking
- Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. You don't want the oil to smoke, but a droplet of water should sizzle.
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Saute for about five (5) minutes or until chicken is done. Put that chicken in a bowl.
- Add asparagus to skillet and flash saute until it turns bright green. You do NOT want wimpy, limp asparagus!
- Add the cherry tomatoes. As with the asparagus, don't cook these too long. You want that fresh from the garden brightness.
- Add the white wine or broth. Simmer about a minute.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the garlic. If the skillet is too hot, the garlic will burn, and nobody likes burnt garlic.
- Once the garlic is fragrant, remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add the pasta, chicken, EVOO, balsamic vinegar, and basil. Stir until combined.
- Arrange your lovely colorful entree on a plate or bowl and then top with your cheese of choice.
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