Creamy Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach


I can’t think of a more distracting place than the internet. Especially when I’m writing an essay. When I’m staring at the Word document screen, trying to bust out a few more pages, suddenly everything else in the world seems a million times more interesting and requires my immediate attention. Really the only thing that keeps me going is the thought of the immense relief I’ll feel when I finally do finish the stupid essay and turn it in.

The best part of working long, hard hours on something? Food breaks. Not only do they physically keep you going, a good meal can keep your spirits up. Take this dish for example. It’s creamy, earthy, and every bite takes you away from what’s lurking on your computer screen.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Savory, earthy, fresh, rich, meaty, slightly spicy.
Texture: The sauce is luscious and creamy while the mushrooms are tender without being overcooked and the chicken is moist.
Ease: Easy and quick enough to be a weeknight meal.
Appearance: Oh so creamy and the spinach adds a lovely pop of color.
Pros: The whole-grains, veggies, and chicken make this meal not overly indulgent. Perfect option for when you need to feed only yourself and don’t want to resort to take-out.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Yes and yes.

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Creamy Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach

Yield: Serves 1 but can easily be doubled


1 boneless, skinless chicken cutlet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 medium button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup dried whole-grain penne, or similar shape, cooked according to package directions and drained


Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from skillet and cover with aluminum foil.

Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and mushrooms to skillet; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add the butter to the center of the pan, let melt, then whisk in flour. Cook 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in heavy cream.

Stir in spinach, allowing it to wilt slightly. Stir in cooked pasta. Thoroughly mix together before serving.

Adapted from On the Woodside


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20 Responses to “Creamy Chicken Pasta with Mushrooms and Spinach”

  1. #
    Kacey — December 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Oh man, this looks sooooo good. This defines my perfect meal!

  2. #
    spiffycookie — December 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I bet this is awesome. I would have to mince up the mushrooms though. I like their flavor but not texture!

  3. #
    Michelle — December 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    This looks so comforting! I love the pops of green color, too!

  4. #
    Miranda @ LOBAAT — December 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Yummmmm! Can't wait to make this. Thanks for sharing :) I LOVE mushrooms. Add some pasta and chicken? … I'm sold!

  5. #
    Tracey — December 7, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Oh, I am the worst about being distracted by the internet. It's always more interesting than whatever else I have going on :) Love this dish, it sounds so comforting and just perfect for this time of year!

  6. #
    Yael — December 7, 2011 at 2:38 am

    this sounds so delicious (minus the mushrooms)! i may have to try this tomorrow night!

  7. #
    van@recipe — December 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Yes! Another Chicken recipe. I'm really fan of collecting chicken recipes and experimenting with them.
    Thank you for posting this.

  8. #
    Csilla — December 7, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I totally hear you with the distraction part! I seem to find all kinds of -anyways boring- things that are way more important and exciting than writing a paper or studying for a final…Oh and the pasta dish looks delicious!

  9. #
    Sarah — December 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    This has all of my favorite ingredients! I can't wait to give it a try. And I am right there with ya on the food breaks part. Story of my life!

  10. #
    *Just Fran* — December 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Adding this to my menu for next week (as if I made a menu)…what I really mean is that I will be making this soon. Thanks for sharing. Yum!

  11. #
    Kathryn — January 4, 2012 at 2:49 am

    We made this tonight and I must say it was FABULOUS!!! I just have a question. I made it into 4 servings and all my conversions were correct but it just was A LOT of crushed red pepper. Was curious if that is correct or a typo. For a 4 serving dish I did 1 Tbsp and stopped there bc it looked like a lot and that was some intense heat.

  12. #
    Encore — January 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I made this a couple of weeks back and it's awesome! So awesome that I had to share with my 2 faithful readers. Never fear though I linked back to you, like 97 times. :) Thanks for the tasty treat! Cheers!

  13. #
    Holly — February 21, 2012 at 12:27 am

    We made this tonight and really enjoyed it. I should have read the comments first and my better judgment about the red pepper though…doubling it was too much. But I'll remember this for next time.

    This entire week's meals are your recipes! Can't wait (:

    • handleheat replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 12:35 am

      So happy to hear that! When doubling a recipe usually you only need to increase the spice amounts by one and a half. Everyone has different spiciness preferences which is why it's always good to taste as you go :)

  14. #
    Jill — February 22, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Tried it tonight & liked it. I also need to reduce the red pepper, and I'm thinking maybe I'll try adding some parmesan cheese or something next time.

  15. #
    Cait — April 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

    made this last night and thought it was delicious! Tasted just like something I would buy at a restaurant.

  16. #
    pixie — August 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    i dont like mushrooms, should i just omit it with something else?

  17. #
    Vik — May 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Incredible recipe…amazing results. Loved the meal.

  18. #
    Sarah — December 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I was looking for something chicken-y and mushroom-y and spinach-y and this was such a great recipe. I skipped the red pepper flakes (our kids are picky about spiciness) and subbed in shallot instead of garlic and it was amazing!
    I’m really curious about your reply to a previous comment re: when doubling a recipe, only use 1.5x the spices instead of doubling them.
    Thanks for a fantastic dinner!


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