Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake Recipe

Pasta is a key ingredient in any cook's pantry, and it's no wonder why. A favorite of college students and professional cooks alike, cooking pasta is simple, it comes in a wide variety of styles and shapes, it can be bought shelf-stable or freshly made, and can be prepared and served in an almost infinite variety of ways. Pasta is about as versatile as any ingredient can hope to be, and whether you are a pro or you are just starting out on your culinary journey, this pasta bake recipe is one you should know.

It is important to have a good stock of great pasta recipes in your repertoire, and this creamy chicken spinach pasta bake, created by Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, is one of those recipes. Flavored with chicken and bacon, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, and garlic, and finished in a deliciously rich and creamy sauce, this dish is a real delight. It is speedy and simple to assemble which makes it perfect for a quick mid-week dinner option, and it is a hearty dish that is great for feeding a crowd. If you are looking for a comforting meal option that is packed full of flavor, it's simple to make this creamy chicken spinach pasta bake.

Gather the ingredients for this creamy chicken spinach pasta bake recipe

To make this creamy chicken spinach pasta bake recipe, first you will want to gather the ingredients. You will require pasta, chicken breast, bacon lardons, garlic cloves, oregano, smoked paprika, flour, chicken stock, cream, Parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach. You will additionally need kitchen staples olive oil and salt and pepper. If you are unable to procure sun dried tomatoes, or have none in your larder at home and there's no time to pop to the shops, it is possible to substitute this ingredient with fresh, diced tomatoes, though the flavor will be much gentler and less concentrated.

It is also simple to make this pasta dish gluten-free. If you are on a gluten-free diet, all you need to do is substitute the pasta for a gluten-free variety, and do likewise with the flour, and you can safely enjoy this pasta bake too. 

Prepare the pasta

There is such a wide variety of pasta shapes on supermarket shelves that it can be hard to decide which type will be best for any given dish. For any baked pasta dish or dish that includes chunky ingredients such as this one, we recommend using short varieties of pasta such as penne, gemelli, or fusilli. This keeps all of the elements of the dish fairly equally proportioned, and the shape of these pasta varieties allows the thick, creamy sauce to cling to the twists and ridges, making a perfect pairing.

While it isn't imperative to precook your pasta for a pasta bake, it does mean that the baking time can be shortened, resulting in a quicker dinner. For this recipe you will want to start by boiling the pasta in salted water until it is just al dente. Then drain it and set it to one side.

Make the sauce

To make the delicious creamy chicken spinach pasta sauce, start by frying the bacon and the chicken in a large, deep frying pan. Then, add the garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper, to create a delicious flavor base for your dish. Stir in the flour, this will act as a thickener for your sauce, and then add the chicken stock and the cream. Once everything has been throughly stirred to combine the liquids and the flour, add the sun dried tomatoes and the Parmesan, and then add the spinach and allow it to wilt before stirring it into the sauce.

Bake the pasta

Once the spinach is wilted and the sauce is ready, it's time to add the pasta to the pan. Mix everything together so that the pasta is thoroughly coated in the delicious creamy sauce, and then transfer everything to a large baking dish. Sprinkle more Parmesan on top of the pasta bake before placing it into the oven for half an hour to cook. 

Once the pasta bake is cooked, serve it hot from the oven with a side of fresh, crisp salad. Store any cool leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within three days.

Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake Recipe
5 from 63 ratings
Learn how to make this pasta bake with bacon, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, and spinach in a creamy sauce.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
6
Portions
Chicken spinach pasta bake
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces short pasta, such as penne or fusilli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced
  • 6 ounces bacon lardons
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 ½ ounces sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Add the pasta to a large saucepan filled with salted boiling water, and cook the pasta for 6 to 8 minutes, until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and then set it to one side.
  3. In a large, deep-based frying pan, heat up the olive oil to a medium heat and then fry the diced chicken breast and the bacon lardons for a few minutes.
  4. Add the finely chopped garlic, the dried oregano, the smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste, and continue to fry the chicken and bacon for two more minutes.
  5. Add the flour to the pan and stir it in, before pouring in the chicken stock, the cream, and ½ cup of water to make a sauce.
  6. Stir in ⅓ cup of Parmesan along with the sun-dried tomatoes, then add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
  7. When the spinach has wilted and is stirred into the sauce, add the pasta and stir to fully coat the pasta in the sauce.
  8. Transfer the pasta and sauce to an appropriately-sized baking dish, and then sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup of Parmesan on top of the pasta. Place the baking dish in the oven and allow the pasta to bake for 30 minutes until the top is beginning to crisp and turn golden, and then serve fresh and hot.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 650
Total Fat 35.1 g
Saturated Fat 15.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 130.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Total Sugars 6.1 g
Sodium 700.1 mg
Protein 37.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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