Chicken Sun Dried Tomato Pasta combines classic comfort food ingredients, chicken and penne pasta into one tasty dish!
The tart and earthy flavors of herb-soaked tomatoes is balanced with sweet basil and creamy mozzarella cheese. Combined with the tender penne pasta and juicy chicken breast, this creamy Italian dinner is a winning combination that will please even the pickiest of eaters.
Quick and easy meals are the best option when life is too hectic to make an elaborate meal. That doesn’t mean they’re lacking in the flavor department, though!
With just a handful of fresh ingredients and 30 minutes of time, you can plate up this scrumptious Italian dinner!
Chicken Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
Chicken and pasta is a comforting combination, and you can make it in a wide variety of flavor combinations.
Chicken penne pasta is incredibly simple to make, and it has delectable Italian flavors from sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil. Your guests will think that you spent more time on it than you actually did!
I have plenty of other 30-minute meals here too, no matter what you are in the mood for. And, many of them can be made with ingredients you already have on hand!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Spinach or mushrooms would be an incredibly tasty addition to the sundried tomatoes and garlic that are in the chicken penne pasta.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes. For this sun dried tomato pasta recipe, you’ll need the sundried tomatoes packed in oil with Italian herbs. The extra liquid is the base for the sauce and the herbs really amp up the flavor!
- Want it spicy? You can always crank up the heat with a dash of red pepper flakes.
- Garnish with cheese. Sprinkle your plated meal with a bit of grated Parmesan for a nice finishing touch.
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Tips for Perfect Chicken Penne Pasta
- Salt your pasta water!
This is a crucial step, as salt really enhances the flavors in the dish.
- Let the chicken rest.
To ensure that every bite is deliciously juicy, let it sit off of the heat for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- Use shredded cheese.
Instead of cutting the mozzarella into cubes, I suggest shredding it, so it’s easier to combine! Also, stirring in a small handful at a time helps prevent it from clumping.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Skillet – This is my go-to pan that I’ve had for over a decade! It heats evenly and cleans up beautifully with a little baking soda so it still looks brand new.
- Large Pot and Strainer for the penne
- Blender – A high power blender is a must in every kitchen.
- Heat resistant spoon or spatula – Perfect for cooking, stirring, and serving.
Chicken Sun Dried Tomato Pasta FAQ
Can I adjust the serving size?
This sun dried tomato pasta recipe yields about 8 servings, but you can reduce the ingredients for a date night dinner, or to make a meal for one.
Since the leftovers are fantastic, I recommend preparing the full recipe. This way, you can enjoy it again for lunch or dinner the next day!
What can I substitute for penne?
As long as it is cooked to al dente, you can use whatever type of pasta you enjoy.
Medium noodles like bowtie or rotini are a great substitute, but spaghetti or fettuccine would work too. However, I would avoid small shapes like shells and elbow macaroni.
Prep Ahead Instructions
Since this meal comes together in a snap, there’s not much to do ahead of time! It’s easy enough to sear the chicken and blend up the tomato sauce while the penne pasta is boiling on the stove.
If you prefer fewer steps, you could easily use leftover grilled chicken or even rotisserie chicken.
You can also blend up the sun dried tomatoes and garlic in advance, then store the mixture in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. Make it no more than a day or two ahead of time for best flavor.
Storing Leftover Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
Allow the dish to cool. Then, transfer the chicken pasta into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Reheat any leftover chicken penne pasta on the stove over medium heat. Or, if you want to use a microwave, reheat individual portions in 30-second increments until they’re warmed through.
You may also want to add a splash of water or chicken stock to keep it from drying out.
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Other Italian Chicken Recipes
Chicken Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 8.5 ounces sun-dried tomatoes with Italian herbs packed in olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or adjust to taste
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- extra salt or pepper, to taste
- chopped fresh basil
- Fill an 8 quart pot with water, cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a small handful of salt to boiling water and cook pasta to al dente (about 7-9 minutes). Drain in a colander.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle oil in the hot skillet and immediately add chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to an internal temperature of 163°F.
- Remove chicken from the pan and set on a cutting board to cool. Once cool, cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
- While the chicken is cooking, drain sun dried tomatoes, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Combine the contents of sun-dried tomatoes, reserved oil, and chopped garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping the insides of the blender down as necessary.
- Add sun dried tomato mixture to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream and milk, then cook on medium-high heat until slightly boiling. Add in shredded mozzarella cheese and stir to melt.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer. Add in cooked chicken.
- Add drained penne pasta to the skillet and stir until combined and the pasta is well coated. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes on low. Stir in fresh basil. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with additional fresh basil if desired. Serve warm, and enjoy!
- If your drained pasta is starting to dry out and stick together, I recommend stirring in a little bit of olive oil.
- To thicken the sauce, you can stir in extra shredded mozzarella. Add a small amount at a time and stir until completely melted.
- For spicier chicken penne pasta, I recommend adding crushed red pepper flakes.
- If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute baby spinach. Spinach doesn’t have quite as much flavor as basil, but it’s still a great vegetable to add because of its health benefits.
- Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published February 2013. Last updated and republished May 2022.
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