This lemony chicken tomato pasta is a quick pasta dinner recipe you’ll want to have on regular rotation.
I can never have enough pasta, and this lemony chicken tomato pasta is one I crave again and again. It’s pretty easy to whip up, relying mostly on pantry items like canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and spices.
How to make this lemony chicken tomato pasta:
The best part of this recipe? It’s nothing too difficult to throw together. There are only a handful of fresh ingredients to prep, but this unassuming pasta brings big flavor to your dinner table.
What you need
- Ground chicken: This keeps the meal simple and fast. You can use ground pork or beef instead if you prefer!
- Sauce: The sauce base is made with mushrooms, diced onion, and tomato paste. You can deglaze with wine, water, or chicken broth. You’ll also need crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sugar.
- Pasta: I use tagliatelle, but pappardelle would be great. You can also use penne or rigatoni if you prefer. You can use 8.5 ounces of tagliatelle or pappardelle, or use 12 ounces of any other pasta variety.
- Finishing touches: Lemon juice and spinach are added at the very end of cooking.
- Garnish: Make a quick mixture of grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, black pepper, and flaky sea salt to give the pasta a big oomph of flavor when you serve.
How to make it
- Brown the chicken: Fry the chicken with lots of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and plenty of crushed red pepper flakes for heat.
- Cook the sauce: After cooking the chicken, fry up mushrooms and diced onion. Add in tomato paste and then deglaze with your liquid of choice. Throw in crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Add in the cooked chicken and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Make the pasta: Boil up your pasta of choice, and then reserve a bit of water before draining the pasta.
- Finish the sauce: Finish the sauce with lemon juice and spinach.
- Make the garnish: Combine the grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, black pepper, and flaky sea salt in a bowl.
- Serve it up: Pile the pasta onto a big serving platter and scatter half the cheese mixture on top. Serve the remaining cheese mixture at the table for guests to sprinkle over their dishes if they like.
Lemony Chicken Tomato Pasta
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1–2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, more or less to taste
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup water or chicken broth
- 14.5- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of sugar
- 8.5- ounces dry tagliatelle, or use 12 ounces rigatoni or penne
- 3 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 small lemon, juiced and zested; juice and zest kept separate
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Big pinch flaky sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the chicken:
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 12–15 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Transfer to a plate.
Sauté the mushrooms and onions:
- Add the mushrooms to the pot over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until they release as much water as possible. If you find them sticking to the pot, add a scant amount of olive oil. Continue cooking until the water releases and evaporates.
- Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the mushrooms and sauté for 3–5 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Add the diced onion and cook for 5–7 minutes until the onions soften. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the tomato paste to the pot and gently mash it into the mushrooms and onions. Cook for 2 minutes until it deepens in color.
Simmer the sauce:
- Pour in the wine or chicken broth and stir to lift up anything stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Add the cooked chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until thick. If the sauce sticks, add a splash of water as it simmers. Taste and season once more.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water and then drain.
Finish the sauce:
- Add the spinach and lemon juice to the tomato sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Add the pasta and toss to coat, adding as much of the pasta water as needed until the pasta is well-coated. Turn off the heat.
Prepare the Parmesan mixture:
- Mix together the lemon zest, Parmesan, flaky sea salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Pile the pasta onto a large serving platter. Scatter half the Parmesan mixture on top. Serve the rest of the Parmesan mixture at the table for people to add to their plates as they like. Enjoy!