What to do with leftover chicken? We have probably all asked this question before! Here we heat the leftovers with some tomatoes and onion, creating a super-quick and tasty Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce. Read on for details on how we put this dish together along with our wine pairing for it, or click here to jump down to the recipe.
I first made this back in 2013. Since then I’ve done various versions of the recipe, but recently came back to replicate the original recipe and take some new, tastier food photos. I was pleased to find that this Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce recipe is even tastier than I remember it! The quickly cooked tomatoes and onion and great flavor and moisture to the leftover chicken. Adding a bit of olives and feta punches up the flavor a notch; you wouldn’t know you are eating leftovers when enjoying this tasty meal!
I started the Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce by chopping a sweet onion and sautéing it in some olive oil until it started to caramelize. A bit of garlic goes in briefly before adding some diced tomatoes and dried herbs. The leftover chicken goes into the tomato onion mixture for just a few minutes before the sauce is finished. You want the chicken heated and absorbing the flavor of the sauce, but not cooked so long it dries out.
The pasta goes on to cook around the same time the tomatoes get added to the skillet. We used orecchiette the most recent time we made the dish, and basic small shells the first time we prepared it. Other short pasta shapes would work, too.
Before you know it, your Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce is ready to toss with the pasta. We pass a bit of Parmesan cheese at the table. Enjoy your meal!
Wine Pairing for Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce
Certainly a recipe like this Leftover Chicken Pasta Sauce, with its tomato base, calls out for an Italian red wine. We enjoyed the dish with a bottle of Nispero Rosso Dell’Umbria ($13, 13%ABV). This wine is mostly Sangioviese, with about 10% Merlot and a “dash” of Barbera, according to the producer. The Nispero Rosso is deep red in the glass, light cherry taste with a bit of acidity. The wine was a good match for the leftover chicken pasta sauce. Other Italian Sangiovese or Barberas should go well with this dish as one, or you might try a Dolcetto.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 leftover chicken breast, diced (about 1 cup or so leftover chicken)
- 6 sliced kalamata olives
- ½ cup feta cheese
- 12 ozs short pasta shape
- Start water boiling for pasta.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté about 10 minutes until it has softened and begun to caramelize. Add the garlic, cook for another minute or so.
- Add the tomatoes along with the oregano, basil and balsamic vinegar. Simmer the tomatoes for about 10 minutes.
- Add the pasta to cook around the same time you add the tomatoes, and cook according to package instructions.
- After the tomatoes have simmered for 10 minutes, and the diced leftover chicken and the olives. Stir to combine and simmer for about 5 minutes for the chicken to heat and absorb the sauce flavors.
- When the pasta is ready, drain the pasta and then toss with the leftover chicken pasta sauce, along with the feta cheese. Plate the pasta and enjoy!