Fact: I ♡ pasta.
And when I say pasta, I mean the creamy, cheesy kind – AKA – the kind that you feel a little guilty eating, but not really, because it’s so so good. Give me a way to make this kind of pasta a little healthier and I’m alllll over it.
For a few years now, I’ve been sharing some of my recipes with Skinny Mom, a healthy-living website started by the very sweet Brooke Griffin. This recipe comes from Brooke’s first book, Skinny Suppers, which is LOADED with lightened-up dinner recipes for healthier twists on classic comfort food. The pages are filled with colorful photography of absolutely amazing-looking dishes, and I knew as soon as I flipped through the book there’d be tons of recipes I wanted to try. But as Greg said when I was choosing the first recipe: “You’re looking through the pasta section, huh?” Either he knows me too well or I’m way too predictable.
I was actually eyeing the mac n cheese (surprise, surprise), but when you have a boyfriend agreeing to help you cook who thinks no meal is complete without some form of meat, you end up cooking chicken pasta instead. And I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical about his choice of recipe at first, but oh. my. goshhhhh it was good. We tweaked it around a bit to add some spiciness and extra flavor (with onion, tomatoes, serrano peppers, and parsley), plus made a few little switches to keep it gluten-free, and BAM – best chicken pasta primavera ever. It absolutely works as a one-dish meal, and the leftovers are the kind of thing that make you dream about getting home to your fridge every day to eat more.
And guess what? Because you guys need to make this pasta AND everything else in the Skinny Suppers book, we’re giving away 3 copies – right here, right now. To enter, check out the Rafflecopter box below. There are 15 possible entries per person, and three winners will be chosen once the giveaway ends on Wednesday, May 18th at midnight.
UPDATE: Apologies to anyone who attempted to enter the giveaway the first two days; there was a website error preventing readers from leaving comments. This has been fixed and the giveaway period has been extended through the 18th to make up for it!
A few simple ingredient swaps making this colorful Chicken Pasta Primavera healthier than its counterparts and still every bit as flavorful, loaded with veggies and a spicy kick of pepper.
- 1 1/4 lbs diced chicken breast
- 3 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pasta water
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus extra for seasoning sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus extra for seasoning sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 12 ounces gluten-free angel hair or spaghetti pasta*
- 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped and cooked
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 2 serrano peppers, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 (8 oz) container baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
- 4 sprigs parsley, minced, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I like Pamela's)*
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk**
- 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese**
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Toss chicken breast with 1 teaspoon olive oil, granulated onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté just until cooked through. Transfer to a clean plate or bowl and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with a dash of olive oil over high heat.
- Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the past water, and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to the same skillet used for the chicken and sauté the broccoli, tomatoes, serrano peppers, bell pepper, mushrooms, and parsley until vegetable have softened, 5-7 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth and smells nutty, making a roux. Whisk in the milk and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the cream cheese and parmesan. Continue to stir until smooth and slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Combine the chicken, vegetables, pasta, and alfredo sauce in the pot used to cook the pasta and toss over low heat until evenly combined, adding reserved pasta water as/if needed to reach desired consistancy. Serve warm, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
*If you're not concerned with keeping this recipe gluten-free, healthy alternatives for the pasta and flour would be high-protein pasta and white whole wheat flour.
**While this recipe is intended to be a "lightened-up" version of pasta primavera, you can of course feel free to use low-fat or whole milk and full fat cream cheese instead.
Recipe adapted from Skinny Suppers
Disclosure: A big thank you to Brooke for providing me with a copy of her book to make this post possible. All opinions are, as always, 100% my own.