When it comes to pasta, I always prefer lighter sauces over the heavy creamier ones. Call me crazy, but whenever I try something richer, it’s just too much for me and I end up wishing I went with something lighter. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with a grandmother who made pasta aglio olio on what seemed like a weekly basis. In other words, I live for light, garlicky, lemon sauces on my pasta dishes and probably have a gazillion variations on this blog at this point, but whatever.
So this pasta has some chicken, spinach, and tomatoes so I’m calling it Chicken Florentine Pasta. It comes together in about 30 minutes and you can use any kind of pasta you have on hand. You can kick up the veggies too by adding mushrooms, peas, or even broccoli if desired! The sauce is made with a touch of olive oil, garlic, pasta water, white wine, and lemon juice. Why the pasta water? Well, the starch in that water helps create a silkier sauce and it also actually helps the other ingredients in the sauce adhere to the pasta, resulting in a more flavorful dish. So, don’t throw all that water away!
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the diced chicken breast with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
While the chicken cooks, prepare the linguine or pasta of your choice according to the package directions. When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about 3/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Set aside.
Place the skillet back onto the burner over medium heat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the tomatoes and spinach to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the tomatoes are tender.
Add in the cooked pasta and chicken. Then, pour in the pasta water and white wine. Toss until combined and the liquid is absorbed. Add the lemon juice and season with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese to taste. Serve.
I prefer the taste of using fresh pasta (like Buitoni), but any pasta will work with this recipe.