This chicken and spinach pasta with lemon cream sauce is perfect for quick and elegant entertaining, or an easy weeknight meal.
Does entertaining stress you out? Do you default to ordering pizza when you have friends or family coming over? I GET IT. I run a food blog and develop recipes for a living and sometimes having people over still stresses me out! It’s a lot of pressure, time management, different likes and tastes to think about, etc. etc. etc.
It can be so overwhelming!
I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be afraid. Don’t reach for your phone to get that pizza coming or order carry out online (best thing ever, by the way).
You can make entertaining look effortless. I’ll also tell you that no one is looking for perfection, at least not in the circles I hang out in. People are more interested in the conversation and quality time than the perfection of the meal in front of them.
This also means that they don’t want you slaving over the food the whole time they are there. This TOTALLY defeats the purpose of having company. You need to sit down and enjoy the meal with everyone else.
This chicken and spinach pasta with lemon cream sauce is perfect for entertaining.
Second of all, it’s so easy to make. There is barely any prep work involved and it only makes two pans dirty.
Third, it’s flexible and forgiving. What I mean by this is that it can be done early enough for you to enjoy a cocktail and an appetizer with your guests before dinner. Just keep it on low heat, add a little milk or cream if it gets dry, and serve it when you’re ready.
This is also perfect if you’re hosting those guests who might not be the most punctual. We all have friends like that. If you don’t know which friend it is, it’s probably you.
About This Recipe
I teamed up with Holland House Cooking Wines for this recipe – their white cooking wine adds a depth of flavor and richness to this pasta that really will wow your friends with minimal effort. You can use any dry white wine though.
A little lemon zest is included in this recipe to offset the richness of the cheese and cream.
what To Serve With This Pasta
Serve this creamy chicken and spinach pasta with a fresh green salad dressed with lemon basil vinaigrette or a citrus salad with mint, honey, and lime. I love this easy Arugula Salad with its simple lemon vinaigrette. A warm crusty bread is perfect, too, like homemade Dutch Oven Bread (no knead!).
And don’t forget a glass of white wine! An oaky chardonnay or Gewürztraminer is perfect or, if you prefer red wine, try cabernet Franc or pinot noir.
This pasta dish is going to be your new entertaining go-to recipe, I just know it.
White cooking wine is simply white wine. It may have salt or other seasoning added. White wine vinegar is vinegar that’s made from white wine. It is much more acidic than plain white wine or cooking wine. The two are not interchangeable.
Cooking wine is not drinkable. It adds flavor to recipes but is not enjoyable as a beverage. It’s usually made from an inferior quality wine, okay for cooking but not so great to drink.
Make It Your Own
- Substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat.
- Try a different type of pasta, whether it’s whole wheat, gluten-free, or regular. Use your favorite kind or what you happen to have. Angel hair pasta is delicious and quick cooking, too.
- Rather have a baked casserole? Try this Baked Spaghetti With Spinach. It’s super yummy!
Storage and Reheating Tips
Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to three days. Because of the creamy sauce which tends to separate when frozen, I wouldn’t advise freezing this pasta.
To reheat, gently warm on the stove in a skillet or saucepan. If pasta seems dry, add a splash of cream or milk. Try not to overheat the sauce. It can also be reheated in the microwave.
More Pasta Recipes
- Vegan Bolognese
- Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
- Healthy Chicken Stroganoff
- Vegetable Packed Stuffed Shells
- Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage, Spinach, and Tomatoes
- Creamy Chicken Spaghetti (made in one pan)
- Pasta Amatriciana (one pan!)
- One Pan Lemon Pasta with Sausage, Asparagus, and Dill
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Holland House White Cooking Wine (or white wine of your choice)
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- 1 box (13.25 ounce) whole wheat penne rigate, or pasta of your choice
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and onion and cook until onions are translucent and chicken is cooked through. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add Holland House White Cooking Wine and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally until cooking wine is reduced by about half.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add spinach and lemon zest and cover for 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low and add whipping cream, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cream cheese. Continue to cook on low, stirring, until all the cheese is melted.
- Serve over cooked pasta or stir pasta into sauce. Best served immediately.
- If reheating, heat over low heat on the stove and add cream or milk as needed to thin sauce.
- If desired, substitute Chardonnay or another dry white wine for the cooking wine.
- Any type of pasta may be used.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Disclaimer: This Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce was created in connection with my agreement as a contributor to the Holland House Cooking Wines. Holland House compensated me for the time required to create this recipe and share it with you. All opinions are always my own. Thank you for supporting my blog by reading about brands I use and love in my own home.