Creamy Chicken Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

I made this for my kids yesterday.  It's an easy tasty meal to throw together in a hurry.


  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz penne pasta 
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
  1. In a large skillet, saut√© garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar) for 1 minute on medium heat until the garlic is fragrant. 
  2. Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet, leaving the olive oil.   
  3. Add sliced chicken (salted and lightly covered in paprika for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
  4. Cook pasta for about 8 minutes.    Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.
  5. Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and add them back to the skillet with chicken.  
  6. To make creamy pasta sauce, add half-and-half and Mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and bring to a gentle boil. 
  7. Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. 
  8. Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce, and stir to combine. 
  9. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add about 1/2 cup of reserved cooked pasta water to the skillet to thin it out.   Do not add all of pasta water at once just a little at a time until it reaches the creamy consistency you want.
  10. Season the chicken pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed.
     I had already removed half of the chicken before taking this pic.  The chicken continues to cook later in the recipe so it should not be cooked through at this point.  The sun-dried tomatoes were also sauteed before the chicken, then removed.

     Remove and set aside.

     Chop the tomatoes and add back to the pan. I added my garlic now rather than earlier.

     Add the chicken back to the pan with the tomatoes.

     Add the cheese and 1/2 and 1/2.  I used about 3/4 cup of the pasta water to thin the sauce out.

Under cook your pasta so it doesn't get mushy once it's added to the sauce. I cooked mine for about 8 minutes. It will continue to cook in the sauce.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

 Add the basil.  I shredded fresh basil but you can use dried;  though it's a very different flavor.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.  Sprinkle on some pepper flakes depending on how spicy you like it.  I added just enough to wake it up.


"Just enough to wake it up" -- LOL!
ok.... mouth is watering!! Your food and your baked goods are always sublime. Wouldn't you like to come live at the farm and be our chef?? You could spend the rest of your time playing!!!
Leanna said…
Oh, Mamacita! That looks soooo good.
Christer. said…
A must try!

Have a great day!

Guillaume said…
Hey I made something quite similar with veggie chicken and sun dried tomatoes. Except it was not creamy. I took it from a novel of Deon Meyer (Trackers I believe).
Mary Ann said…
Joyce, can I double or triple this for the shelter where I donate a meal a week? This looks so good! They lean heavily towards pasta dishes because they go so far.