Sicilian Chicken Spaghetti is a quick dinner you make when you’ve got chicken, canned tomato and some kind of pasta lying around. Raid your olive jars and marvel at how little effort it takes to make this punchy flavoured chicken pasta that will be a life saver on busy nights!
This is a quick dinner idea that’s based on using what you’ve got – so feel free to customise!
I’ve affectionately dubbed this pasta as a Sicilian Chicken Spaghetti for no other reason than to add a little za za zoom to what is actually a very simple pasta made with pantry staples, but is nevertheless can’t-stop-slurping-it-good.
It’s a basic tomato garlic pasta sauce, but it gets a flavour boost from a few little things:
searing the chicken first – the golden bits stuck on the pan add flavour into the sauce;
using wine to deglaze the pan (fancy word to describe dissolving golden bits in pan into liquid). Wine is a secret ingredient to add complexity to otherwise simple sauces, and something I use regularly – from this quick Creamy Mushroom Sauce For Everything to Garlic Prawns (Shrimp); and
using olives, artichokes or similar antipastoey things (is that a real word??) to add pops of flavour.
EFFORTLESS – This chicken pasta calls for little more than opening cans and jars, and pressing garlic through a crusher!
What you need for this chicken spaghetti
Here’s what you need.
Olives and artichokes – these are the things that’s intended to be “use whatever antipasto-ey things you’ve got” part of this recipe. I’m thinking: roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes – that sort of thing. Leftover homemade Marinated Roasted or Marinated BBQ vegetables would be 100% perfect too (in fact, probably the BEST!)
Basil is optional – I don’t usually have a bunch lying around in my fridge. Sub with a teaspoon or so of dried herbs.
Chilli flakes (aka red pepper flakes) also optional – a like a little heat to spice things up!
White wine – a classic ingredient to add extra flavour into otherwise simple sauces. Sub with chicken stock/broth.
And while this is a chicken pasta recipe, which would therefore imply that chicken is a somewhat key ingredient, you could actually skip it and still end up with a mighty tasty pasta!!
How to make it
Here’s how it goes down. It’s very straight forward and has a nice flow to it:
sear then shred chicken;
saute garlic then deglaze pan with white wine or chicken broth;
plonk all the other sauce things in and simmer while the pasta’s cooking;
then toss pasta with sauce until the spaghetti changes from yellow to red and the sauce is clinging to the pasta rather than pooled in the skillet.
Today’s Chicken Spaghetti is the tomato version of the creamy shredded chicken alfredo pasta I shared a few months ago – huge reader fave!
I think you’ll like that there’s no chopping called for in this recipe, other than slicing the chicken breasts in half to make them thinner so they cook faster and more evenly. Though actually, you could totally skip that and just sear the breasts whole.
And on a final note, why shredded chicken?
Regular readers know I’m a big fan of shredded meats. From Shredded Beef Chili to Shredded Beef Ragu, to shredded chicken tacos and nachos, the reason I’m such a fan is because I like how the shredded meat acts as a mop so the sauce clings to it. It’s just an all round better eating experience!!
Complete your meal with a Rocket Salad with Balsamic Dressing. The fresh peppery flavour of the rocket (arugula) pairs so well with pasta! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
For fellow pasta fiends
Browse all pasta recipes
Sicilian Chicken Spaghetti
- 320g / 11oz spaghetti (or other long pasta)
- 2 chicken breasts , each halved horizontally to form 2 thin steaks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (Note 1)
- 800g / 28oz can crushed tomato
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) water (about 1/3 empty tomato can)
- 1 cup (100g) sliced black olives (Note 2)
- 170g / 6 oz artichokes (marinated in can or jar), drained (Note 2)
- 1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes (spiciness - adjust to taste!)
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper , each
- 1 cup basil leaves , optional (or sub baby spinach)
- Parmesan cheese , freshly grated
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per packet directions, MINUS 1 minute. Drain. (Do this while sauce is simmering)
- Cook chicken: Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear chicken 1 1/2 minutes on each side until golden, then remove from skillet. Shred while sauce is simmering.
- Add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add garlic and sauté for 15 seconds.
- Add wine and let it simmer rapidly for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve brown bits on bottom of skillet into the wine, until mostly evaporated.
- Add tomato, water, olives, artichoke, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir, simmer on medium for 5 minutes.
- Stir shredded chicken into sauce.
- Add pasta into sauce, still on the stove. Toss well for 1 minute or until sauce reduces more and is clinging to pasta strands, rather than pooled in the skillet.
- Just before serving, toss through fresh basil.
- Serve immediately with parmesan!
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When he fell asleep while protecting his valuables…