This creamy pasta has all the comforting flavors and is SO easy. It comes together in 20 minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights and is super adaptable allowing you use up a variety of leftovers stashed in your fridge. I also use half of the cream called for in many other recipes making this a healthy we alternative to heavier creamy dishes.
I added grilled chicken to my version, but chickpeas or white beans would also be delicious. This recipe is vegetarian-adaptable and can easily be gluten free by subbing gluten free pasta. You’ll want to add this to your lineup!
Serves 4 | Vegetarian adaptable, gluten free adaptable, kid-friendly | Less than 20 minutes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, diced
- 1 15.5 oz can unsalted diced tomatoes (we like Muir Glen)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup pasta water
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups whole wheat penne (about a half box)
- 1 cup diced pre-cooked chicken, chickpeas or white beans
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Bring 6 cups of water to boil. While waiting for the water to boil, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for one minute until fragrant and softened. Then, add the roasted red peppers, salt, a few cracks of black pepper, diced tomatoes and white wine. Bring to a simmer, then add your pasta to the boiling water. Let your sauce simmer for 5-6 minutes, then carefully scoop out some of the pasta water and add 1/4 cup to the sauce. Add the spinach and heavy cream to the skillet and let simmer for another 1-2 minutes.
When pasta is al dente, scoop it directly into the sauce using a slotted spoon. Stir in the cooked chicken (or chickpeas or white beans) and let simmer for a few minutes until sauce is thickened. (Note if sauce seems too dry, add an extra 1/8 cup of pasta water at a time). Add the parsley, basil, and thyme ( can reserve some for serving), then add the Parmesan and red pepper flakes and stir until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
For the kids – I serve pasta with sauce and reserved chicken on the side.