Last updated on January 17th, 2024 at 03:34 pmJump to Recipe
Chicken Mozzarella Pasta Recipe
Chicken Mozzarella Pasta is a delicious pasta dish with tender pasta shells, in a creamy sun-dried tomato mozzarella sauce. You can make the entire dish and have it on the table in less than 30 minutes and the whole family will love it. In fact, chicken mozzarella pasta may end up being your favorite go-to meal on busy nights. We love easy weeknight meals, and this Beef and Shells pasta is a reader’s favorite, definitely, a must-try!
Although chicken mozzarella pasta is made like chicken parmesan pasta, they are different. In chicken parmesan, the chicken is breaded in panko and parmesan shavings, and the sauce is made from Italian herbs and tomato puree instead of sun-dried tomatoes. This chicken mozzarella pasta recipe does not call for breading the chicken and does not include parmesan cheese.
- Pasta shells: We used pasta shells because they hang onto so much of the delicious creamy mozzarella sauce.
- Skinless chicken breasts: We used tenderloins, but you can use whole breasts.
- Half and half: You can also use a half cup of milk and a half cup of heavy cream.
- Shredded mozzarella cheese: Do not shred your own. Use already shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: The sun-dried tomatoes give this sauce its intense flavor so do not skip this ingredient. If you absolutely cannot find them or make your own, you can use roasted bell peppers.
- Minced garlic cloves: Fresh works best but you can also use garlic powder if you have to.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: Just for a slight hint of spiciness in the marinara sauce.
- Dried basil: Gives your chicken mozzarella pasta a slightly sweet and peppery flavor.
- Paprika: There are different types of paprika. You can use sweet for a sweeter taste or use smoky paprika for a smokier flavor.
How to make chicken mozzarella pasta from scratch?
- Make sun-dried tomato sauce: First, using a large skillet, saute the sun-dried tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, and garlic in the leftover oil out of the sun-dried tomato jar. Cook on medium heat for one minute, stirring occasionally. Remove sun-dried tomatoes and leave the oil.
- Brown the chicken: Next, add chicken (lightly covered in paprika for color) to the same skillet and cook on high until golden brown. Remove from heat.
- Use package instructions: After, cook pasta according to package directions. Save some pasta water and drain the shells. Set drained pasta aside for now.
- Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes: Now, slice sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and put them back into the skillet with the sliced chicken. Stir immediately.
- Mix it up: After, making creamy pasta sauce, mix the half-and-half and Mozzarella cheese in the skillet, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Make the mozzarella pasta sauce: Next, reduce the sauce to a simmer and continue cooking until all the cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms, constantly stirring.
- Add cooked pasta: Now, add drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce, and gently stir to mix.
- Season: Immediately sprinkle with salt and extra red pepper flakes if you like. Let it simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
- Serve chicken mozzarella pasta: Finally, serve chicken mozzarella pasta with crusty bread, a green salad, and a glass of wine.
- Fresh herbs: Add your favorite herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, fresh parsley, and paprika.
- More cheese: Sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese or parmesan shavings just before serving for more flavor.
- More olive oil: Feel free to drizzle a little olive oil on top of your pasta dish after mixing it all. For even more flavor, use the drained olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.
- Seasoned chicken: You can season cooked chicken any way you like. If you want it spicy, add more red pepper flakes, for sweetness, add some sweet paprika.
- No chicken: Leave out the chicken for vegetarians and make sun-dried tomato pasta instead.
- No tomatoes: Instead of sundried tomatoes, you can use roasted red bell peppers.
- No half-and-half: You can use heavy cream or sour cream instead of half-and-half.
Frequently asked questions
What pasta shapes work best?
You can use any pasta shape you like best. Thick, tube-shaped pasta works best with this chicken mozzarella meal because it holds onto the sauce. Whatever pasta shapes you prefer including macaroni, ziti, mostaccioli, or penne pasta. We used shells because they have the power to hold incredible amounts of sauce as well as pieces of chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.
Can I use other chicken cuts?
Yes, you can use your favorite like chicken tenders, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or even rotisserie chicken. In fact, you can use bone-in chicken with the skin on too, but you will have to remove it from the bones before serving, of course. Some skin here and there in this dish is very tasty.
What can I use instead of chicken?
If you do not have (or do not like) chicken, you can use turkey, pork, or beef. Just cook the meat and chop it into bite-size pieces like you would the chicken. Ground meat would also work for this; you do not have to chop it. In fact, you can use seafood too like shrimp, tuna, or trout.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Storing leftover pasta can be difficult because it can stick together. Spritz it with a bit more olive oil before putting it into an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge.
- Freeze: Freezing is not recommended.
More pasta recipes to try:
Chicken Mozzarella Pasta
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes drained and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb chicken breast sliced or cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/3 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 8 oz medium shells pasta you can also use gluten-free or whole-wheat
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water or chicken broth
Follow me on InstagramFollow
- Bring a large pot with water to a rolling boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of cooked pasta water for later. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté minced garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, and sun-dried tomatoes for 1 minute.
- Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet, and set aside on a plate.
- Add the chicken to a plate, mix it with salt and paprika, and add it to the pan. Cook on high heat for 1-2 minutes, tossing to cook it all all sides.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes back to the skillet with the chicken.
- Add the heavy cream, and Mozzarella cheese to the skillet, gently stir over medium heat, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until the cheese melts and the sauce is cream, taste and adjust for salt.
- Add the pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta water little by little and stir to combine.
- Serve garnished with fresh basil.
- Make sure to salt the chicken dish just enough to bring out the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes. And don’t forget the freshly ground black pepper.
- If the creamy cheesy mozzarella sauce is too thick, add about half a cup of reserved cooked pasta water to the skillet to thin it out. You want the cheese sauce to be creamy but not clumpy. Do not add all of the pasta water at once because you may need less of it than you think.
- Be sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes. Just tilt the jar with the lid partially open and drain it into a jar to use later. You can put your drained oil into the sun-dried tomato jar for future use.
- Even if your kids are grown and you are over that busy school weeknight stage, easy pasta dishes are always welcome.
- You can use light cream instead of heavy, but it will not be as thick and rich.
- Chop chicken breasts into bite-size pieces for even distribution and taste.
- Although we usually call for fresh mozzarella, this time it is best to use pre-shredded mozzarella cheese, so it does not stick together.
Enjoy weekly hand picked recipes and recommendations