Winner winner, chicken (and pasta) dinner: this sun-dried tomato pasta is sure to elevate your next pasta night… and earn you a standing ovation! Featuring a creamy sauce packed with flavor thanks to minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Chicken breast and spinach round out the sauce and make it a hearty meal the whole family will love.
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Recipe
Is there anything more beautiful than a large skillet… full of pasta? The answer is no! And this perfectly creamy sun-dried tomato pasta recipe is sure to earn a place on your weekly menu. It’s rich and creamy, but no so much so that it’ll leave you with a stomach ache. And the sauce is exploding with flavor and texture thanks to sun-dried tomatoes, brown sugar, parmesan cheese, and basil.
And leftovers? If you’re lucky enough to have any, they’re going to taste even more delicious the next day! Just be sure to cook the pasta al dente (mushy pasta = yuck) and store in an airtight container in the fridge. I’ll typically make this on a Sunday night so we can enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day. I don’t know about you, but delicious leftover pasta is like a gift from God! Especially on a crazy Monday afternoon!
Ingredients to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta for Dinner!
- Pasta: I love farfalle aka bowties for this recipe! It catches the sauce and just makes it look so inviting. But penne pasta or rigatoni work great as well. Pasta is one of those pantry staples we all stock up on, so use whatever you have on hand.
- Butter: Adds flavor and richness to the sauce. And helps cook up chicken breast nice and golden brown. Yum!
- Chicken Breast: Use boneless, skinless breasts and chop them up into bite-sized pieces. Not a meat eater? Skip this ingredient completely! Or sub in shrimp!
- Salt and Pepper: Use these as you see fit. If you prefer more than I call for, go for it!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I don’t suggest using any other oil as a replacement.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: I consider this the true Italian seasoning lol! It adds a medium heat without making the sauce spicy. If you don’t want any spice, omit it.
- Yellow Onion: In a pinch, a white onion will work fine!
- Garlic: Do not sub garlic powder here! Fresh garlic is an absolute must!
- Tomato Paste: Adds rich tomato flavor and helps thicken the sauce without the use of flour/cornstarch.
- White Wine: If you’d prefer not to cook with alcohol, simply increase the amount of chicken broth by a 1/2 cup.
- Chicken Broth: Use a brand you know is packed with flavor. I love to use bone broth because it adds so much richness to the sauce.
- Heavy Cream: Aka whipping cream! Do not sub milk or half and half here.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Be sure to use the ones packed in oil! They’ll have the best texture and taste.
- Brown Sugar: The tiniest bit of sugar eliminates any bitterness and enhances all of the flavors in this dish. You may use granulated sugar if it’s what you have on hand, and if you’re totally against adding it, you can of course omit.
- Parmesan Cheese: Be sure to buy a block of Parmesan and grate it yourself. Pre-grated parmesan cheese has preservatives that will prevent it from fully melting into the sauce.
- Basil: Is there anything better than the smell of fresh basil? A handful adds a pop of color and a fresh boost of flavor to the sauce. Do not sub dried basil here.
- Baby Spinach: Adds nutrition and color! You can totally leave this out if desired.
Let’s Cook Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- Pasta Prep: Before you start on the sauce, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. You’ll want to have this ready for when you need to cook the pasta. Nothing worse than having your sauce is ready but you forgot to bring the pasta water to a boil. You don’t want to have it sitting there aging as your pasta is cooking.
- Cook the Chicken Breast: Because your chicken will be cut into small pieces, it should cook quite quickly! Get it nice and golden brown on all sides, then get it out of the pan! No one wants overcooked dry chicken breast in their pasta.
- Make the Sauce: Be sure to take your time in between steps; this is where the flavor builds! So have patience and follow the sensory clues written in the recipe.
- Bring it All Together: Once your sauce is ready, stir in the pasta and chicken and toss well to coat. Add pasta water, as needed, to thin the sauce. Once the chicken has had change to reheat in the sauce, remove from heat and serve!
We love serving this easy sun-dried tomato pasta with white wine and plenty of crusty bread to soak up any leftover sauce. And of course: extra freshly grated parmesan cheese! Easy enough for a weeknight but fancy enough to serve guests or wow your hunny on date-night, this recipe is sure to become a fast favorite. Enjoy!
More Easy Pasta Recipes:
- Easy Tomato and Spinach Pasta
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Fresh Tomato Pasta Puttanesca
- 16 Cozy Pasta Recipes for National Pasta Day
- Special Occasion Spicy Lobster Pasta
- Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
- 3/4 pound (340g) pasta suggested: farfalle or penne
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 1 pound (454g) boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper as needed
- 2 Tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more to taste
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tablespoons (42g) tomato paste
- 1 cup (227ml) chicken broth
- 1/2 cup (113ml) dry white wine
- 1 and 1/2 cups (340ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese freshly and finely grated
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- 3 heaping cups baby spinach leaves
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil so it’s ready for the pasta.
- Melt the butter in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. While the pan heats up, place the chicken in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Once the skillet is hot, add the seasoned chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is golden on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside until needed.
- In the same skillet, add olive oil, crushed red pepper, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Do not let the garlic brown.
- Add in the tomato paste, chicken broth, and white wine and, using a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly, breaking up the tomato paste until a smooth sauce has formed.
- Add a teaspoon of salt into the boiling water, then add the pasta. Cook until just al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1 and 1/2 cups of the pasta water.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the heavy cream, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, basil, and brown sugar, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken and pasta to the skillet and stir well to coat. Cook for another minute or two, or until the noodles are nicely coated in the sauce and the chicken has had a chance to heat up.
- Slowly drizzle in the reserved pasta water, stirring as you add it. Continue adding water, a little bit at a time, until you've reached your desired sauce consistency. More water = more sauce. Less water = dried sauce.
- Remove from heat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Scoop into bowls and serve at once!