Chicken Penne Rustica

I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for something totally different, and just knew I had to make this!  I made a few changes to make it a little healthier (it originally called for TWO CUPS of heavy cream!), and to suit my family’s tastes.

If you scroll down and look at the printable recipe first, don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients.  This is really an easy dish to prepare.  Just gather all your ingredients before you start and you won’t even notice how many are going into the recipe.   This dish is certainly restaurant quality…it was rich, creamy, and decadent!

Start by seasoning two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or in my case, 4 chicken tenders) with salt and pepper.  Cook in a skillet until cooked through and browned on both sides.

Slice chicken and set aside.  Prepare the sauce by melting 1 tbsp butter over medium-low heat.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook until the garlic is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup heavy cream, 1-1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup chicken broth , 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp cornstarc, 1 tbsp mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Whisk to combine.

Bring to a simmer and cook until thick – about 10 minutes.  Cover and remove from heat.

While the sauce is thickening, cook 1 lb. of penne pasta to al dente.

Start building your dish.  You can do this in individual oven proof serving dishes, or in one big casserole dish.

Place about 3 cups of pasta into each dish and top with 3/4 cup sauce.  Sr gently to combine. 

Top with 1/4 of the chicken slices.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp parmesan cheese and 1 1/2 tsp paprika.  Sprinkle over the pasta.

Broil until golden brown and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Chicken Penne Rustica

1 tbsp butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 ½ cups milk

½ cup chicken broth

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp mustard

½ tsp salt

½ tsp thyme

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked al dente

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


3 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 ½ tsp paprika


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in skillet on both sides until done. Slice chicken and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in large skillet. Add garlic and cook about 5 minutes. Add cream, parmesan cheese, milk, broth, cornstarch, mustard, salt, thyme and cayenne pepper, whisking until smooth. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; cook until thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat broiler. Build each serving in individual oven proof dishes, or assemble in one large casserole dish.

To each dish, add 2-3 cups pasta, top with ¾ cups sauce and stir lightly to coat. Top with ¼ of the chicken slices.

Combine parmesan cheese and paprika and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of mixture over each dish. Broil until the top starts to brown and gets bubbly.

Serve immediately.


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