Easy Mediterranean Chicken Penne Recipe
This easy Mediterranean inspired chicken and penne pasta dish was a happy accident in my kitchen. It was one of those moments in my kitchen where I had bits and pieces of ingredients, but I had to get creative about how to stretch them into a pasta bake. I had roasted chicken, leftover pasta from another project, spinach that was closing in on it's expiration date, a handful of sun dried tomatoes, half a jar of prepared basil pesto. After gathering a couple of jars of Alfredo sauce in my pantry I was able to put together this penne pasta supper for dinner and nothing goes to waste.
How to Make the Best Mediterranean Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe
The beauty of this dish, is, if you're hard pressed for time it could be finished completely on the stove top and sprinkled with Parmesan and a few toasted pine nuts for crunch, just before serving. It makes life so much less stressful when you can prepare a dish that's simple and versatile.
- Ingredients you'll need to make homemade Easy Mediterranean Chicken Penne: Penne pasta cooked to al dente, rotisserie chicken, (grilled, roasted or poached will work) prepared alfredo sauce, sundried tomatoes, basil pesto, onion, olive oil, salt, black pepper, chive and onion cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, baby spinach, grated Parmesan cheese, melted butter and Italian breadcrumbs to make the crispy topping.
- Kitchen gadgets you'll need: Rectangle baking dish, a large skillet or pot, measuring cups and spoons, sharp knife and cutting board, cheese grater, mixing spoons or silicone spatula for stirring and a pasta pot for cooking the penne pasta.
- You can use leftover grilled, roasted or poached chicken for this recipe. I tend to have rotisserie chicken often in our fridge, so, that's what I use most often.
- You can use any brand of prepared pesto that you enjoy.
- I highly recommend rinsing and soaking the sundried tomatoes for a few minutes if time allows. This will allow them to soften and remove some of the oil they're packed in. The flavor will be enhanced and not dominate the pasta.
- Lighter dairy works beautifully in this recipe including the alfredo sauce. Use a quality brand for the best end result.
- Store leftover Mediterranean Chicken Penne chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in single servings in the microwave.
More Easy Pasta Recipes to Make
Pasta is inexpensive and can add bulk to the menu with plenty to go around. That makes any pasta dish a win in my Southern kitchen. More easy pasta recipes you may also like to try:
- Louisiana inspired Cajun Chicken Pasta with Andouille.
- Asian Sesame Chicken Pasta can be served chilled at room temperature or warm.
- This easy stovetop Spaghetti Carbonara features ham in place of bacon for an easy meal the whole family will love.
- This Crockpot Pasta Casserole will cook dinner while you attend to other things.
- One Pot Creamy Chicken Parmesan Pasta is made on the stovetop.
- You may also enjoy this recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper from the Novice Chef.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Easy Mediterranean Chicken Penne
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 15 oz jars light creamy Alfredo sauce any brand, I used Classico
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup ⅓ less fat chive and onion cream cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup basil pesto
- ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes rinsed
- 3 cups roughly chopped roasted chicken
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese divided use
- 4 cups cooked penne pasta
- 1 6 oz package baby leaf spinach
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs or Italian cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 12 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large stove top pot over medium-high heat, cook diced onion in a couple of drizzles of olive oil until it's translucent and beginning to brown. Season with salt and black pepper to your taste then add the crushed red pepper flakes.
- To the pot add both jars of Alfredo sauce, ½ cup of milk, and cream cheese.
- Mix well, then simmer uncovered on low heat, stirring just until the cream cheese melts.
- To the pot add Parmesan cheese, basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, chicken and 1 ¼ cups of shredded cheese. Mix well.
- Add the cooked penne pasta and the baby spinach. If you'd like the sauce a little thinner, add extra milk. [Tip: At this point, you could skip the oven and serve this dish as is....Stir all of the cheese into the mixture and simmer on the stove top until heated through. Then sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese just before serving. For a little crunch, top with toasted pine nuts.]
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella on top.
- Toss together crumbs and butter, sprinkle over cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
Hi Melissa, this looks yummy and I'm going to try it but do you use frozen spinach or fresh?
Hi Donna, I use fresh but you could certainly make it with frozen, if that's what you have on hand.
Thank you Melissa!
It's my pleasure!
Elizabeth from Maine
I was so busy fixing snacks today for tomorrows Super Bowl party I didn't even think about dinner until my husband wandered into "my space" looking forsomethingo to eat. So I checked this site for quick and delicious and you didn't fail! I even had every thing on hand except for the onion chive cream cheese but I did have a bit of the Boursin's garlic and herb cheese which I used instead, nor did I have spinach so I left that out. This dish turned out so good with so little time. Thank you, thank you!!!
I love that you used Boursin for this, great idea! It's my pleasure thank you for such a sweet note.
I love this recipe! I've made it several times. Do you think it would freeze well?
Hi Rebekah, what a great question I have never tried freezing this one. Pasta freezes well so I expect it would do fine. If you try it come back and leave a comment letting me know how it goes. Btw, so happy you love this one I do too!
Nancy!!!! Thanks so much!!! xoxox
Lillian (My Recipe Journey)
Hey girl, it's Nancy in Durham!! This looks do die for!!!
You're welcome! Enjoy honey!!
Oh my, oh my, oh my... honey sweetheart, you touched my heart and my taste buds!!
I just printed this out!