This simple and delicious chicken pasta dish is a breeze in an Instant Pot, but since the cooking time is so short, you could just as easily make it in a 3 or 4 qt saucepan with a lid. We got the idea from this online recipe, but a quick search will bring up dozens of variations. Our recipe varies from that link mainly in we use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, and we avoid the mysterious “Italian seasoning.”
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts (2 lobes of a single chicken breast)
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 2 tsp half-sharp paprika (Ours came from Penzeys)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 12-oz cans chicken stock
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- 12 oz penne pasta (we used tricolored)
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3-6 oz sun-dried tomatoes, cut up
- 4 oz baby spinach leaves
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté, press adjust to set it to High.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Sauté the chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side and remove to a plate.
- Sauté the onions for 1-2 minutes, until softened, adding more olive oil if needed.
- Mash the garlic with the side of a knife, remove the skin and chop them up.
- Add the garlic to the sauté and cook until fragrant.
- Turn off the sauté heat.
- Add the chicken broth, basil, oregano, salt ant pepper, milk, pasta and chicken breasts to the pot.
- Close the pot and set to Manual and 5 minutes.
- When the 5 minutes is over, do a Quick Release and remove the lid.
- Remove the chicken to the plate and cover with foil to keep warm. It will continue to cook on the plate, so be sure to cover it.
- Cut up the cream cheese and stir into the pasta liquid, until it has melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into quarters or smaller and add to the pot.
- Add the parmesan cheese and spinach.
- Cut the chicken in to cubes and return it to the pot.
Serve warm, garnished with more parmesan if you like.
In a saucepan
The recipe is pretty much the same, except that you should cook the penne pasta and chicken in the stock, covered, for 10 minutes. You may have to add more water if the stock boils down too much. It is also easier to reheat it, when everything is combined, but as it cools the sauce does become thicker.