Monday, September 9, 2013

penne chicken alfredo

My little girl has decided that 3.47 am is the new beginning for her day.

She has been waking up at odd hours recently and today, it was 3.47 am.

I was up at 3.47 am.

While she had a nap at 11 am (finally!), Mommy had a ton of things to do, so by late afternoon, all I wanted to do was to crawl into bed and cry.

But people were waiting to be fed. So dinner had to be made. As such, I made a really simple dinner.

Few things are simpler than an Alfredo sauce.

To start, I trimmed two whole chicken breasts. I seasoned them with salt and pepper on both sides.

And pan-fried them in a large skillet with some olive oil and butter.

As soon as both sides of the chicken were brown, I placed them in a casserole dish and baked them until the chicken was cooked through.

In the meantime, in a skillet, I sauteed some minced garlic in a little olive oil and butter for about a minute.

Then in went the white wine (or stock). I let it boil and reduce for 1-1.5 minutes then added the milk and cream.

Season with salt and pepper.

And let the liquid thicken. Once that happened, I turned off the heat, and added the cheese.

The cooked pasta and sauce were placed together in a large pot.

And mixed.

By this time, the chicken pieces were cooked. I took them out of the oven, and set them aside to rest. Resting allows the juices in the chicken to re-distribute and you will end up with a piece of meat that is moist.

See the second picture? Look at how much more juice is in the casserole after the meat had rested.

Once the chicken had rested and cooled a little, I sliced them and placed them on the pasta. I sprinkled some chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. (If your Alfredo sauce is too thick, add a little pasta water and stir.)

And ate.

Penne Chicken Alfredo (Serves 6-8)
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

500g penne, or any pasta
55g butter
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cups dry white wine (may Substitute Low-sodium Chicken Broth) - I used Chardonnay
1/2 cup low-fat milk
3 tbs heavy cream
Low sodium chicken broth, as needed for thinning
3/4 cups grated Parmesan
2 tbs fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Heat half of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until deep golden brown on both sides and done in the middle. Remove from the skillet, slice into thin strips, and set aside.
NOTE: If your chicken breasts are thick (like mine), then sear until brown on both sides, then bake at 180C in the oven for about 15 minutes so the chicken is cooked through.
3. Add the remaining butter to the skillet, followed by the minced garlic. Stir the garlic around the pan to avoid burning, and cook for 1 minute. Pour in wine (or broth), then let it bubble up and reduce for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add milk, cream, and extra salt and pepper, whisking constantly until it's all combined. Allow liquid to heat up and thicken for a few minutes. If it gets too thick, you may thin it with a little chicken broth.4.
4. When the sauce looks good, remove it from the heat. Add Parmesan to the pan, then throw the hot pasta right on top of it. Toss it a bit. Add the chicken and continue tossing until it's all combined. Again, if it gets too thick, splash in a little broth (you may return the pan to low heat if it needs it.)
5. Taste it, adjust seasonings, and top with minced parsley and extra Parmesan. Serve immediately!

I am submitting this recipe for Cook like a Star hosted by Zoe from Bake for Happy KidsYen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake.



  1. Hi Diana,

    Tell me about your sleep-deprived nights. We have lots when my son was younger...

    Nice that your delicious chicken pasta to give you lots of energy to carry on your mummy's duty for the rest of the night...


    1. Hi Zoe, actually I did perk up a little after eating the penne. Hahaha :)

  2. If I make this for my dinner tonights... its all because of your inspiration!! Fabulous dish you made!

    Hang it there gurl, you are doing great!

    1. Thanks Emily!! :) Hope you get to make this dish. It is really yummy. Love the pioneer woman to bits!

  3. Hi Diana! Poor you! Don't worry, your little girl will grow up before you know it :) Your pasta dish is so creamy and comforting. That's what we all need!

  4. Hi Phong Hong, thanks for the encouragement!! Yep, the carbs certainly helped to wake me up a little, haha. :)

  5. This chicken with creamy sauce looks so good! A perfect pasta meal.

    1. Hey Mich, thank you :) When I saw your nick, I thought.. Cinnamon buns!!! (Left you a comment!)

  6. Hi Diana, thanks for joining us in CLAS! This looks really delicious, and we all need easy recipes like that for busy days. Hope ur darling daughter has been good and giving mummy more time to sleep at night. -Yen

    1. Hi there!!! Thanks for having me! JL still has her ups and downs - I think sleep will be a while in coming. But I saw the oven baked crispy chicken you made - I am so glad I did too because it is a great way to cook chicken!!!

  7. Hi Diana, the chicken look so nicely baked with the juices. Lovely pasta.

  8. Diana, so glad to hear that this comfort food with all the creamy goodness made your day much better in the end. Your alfredo looks delectable for a one-dish meal when you just don't feel like cooking much but still taste as yums :):)

    1. Hey Grace, I think that is why Ree is so popular. Her recipes are mainly easy but tasty.
      We cannot ask for more huh? :)