How to make Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
The recipe card has all the details, but me provide a few tips here first. A good sturdy skillet is a big plus for making this Mediterranean Chicken Pasta. The pasta cooks in a separate pot, but everything else cooks up in the skillet. I really like my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, so am providing this Amazon link in case you need to get one. (should you choose to use my Amazon affiliate link, I would earn a small commission.)
When I originally wrote the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta with Spinach recipe, I listed the olives and lemon juice as optional ingredients. I have made this without one of those ingredients before and it still tasted pretty good, but for the full Mediterranean flavor I would suggest using both.
The last time I made this chicken and pasta recipe, I didn’t have the full 3 cups of spinach, so I rounded out the greens with some arugula I had on hand. That worked out nicely.
A final recipe note: fresh basil is preferred if you have it, but dried basil can be substituted.
Wine Pairing for Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
I originally noted that a lean Chardonnay with moderate oak works well with the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta. We had a Torito Bravo Chardonnay from Spain with it that fits that description and worked well.
So that inexpensive chard was suitable for this dish, but when we had this pasta dish the other night, I thought we would try the 2013 Manciat-Poncet La Roche Pouilly-Fuissé (13.5% ABV) with it. I’m always keen to find foods that pair well with Pouilly-Fuissé! By the way, Pouilly-Fuissé is a well-known appellation in the Maconnais region of Burgundy, noted for its white wine made from Chardonnay.
The nose on La Roche Pouilly-Fuissé made me think of stone, and I expected the taste to be lean and minerally. Thus I was a bit surprised to taste that it was relatively fruit forward and creamy. I got peach fruit and a touch of kiwi, and notes of vanilla and hazelnut on the finish. This lively taste profile was definitely enjoyable, and matched pretty well the vibrant flavors of the dish.
Although I’ve enjoyed this recipe with two very different Chardonnays, you could definitely try other white grapes as well. Keeping with the Mediterranean theme, any number of medium to full bodied Italian whites would also pair well with this chick. Choose your favorite or try something new. Let us know if you find a good pairing!
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided, plus oil spray
- 2 chicken breast fillets, about 1 lb, sliced crosswise about ½ inch thick
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, or ½ tsp dried basil
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- 3 cups baby spinach
- handful chopped olives
- dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 12 ozs penne or other short pasta shape
- salt to taste
- Start a pot of water boiling to cook the pasta.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the red bell pepper and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes on medium heat, until the pepper has softened and and the pepper smell starts wafting through the kitchen. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Push the peppers and garlic to the edge of the pan to clear some space in the center of the skillet. Spray that middle area with oil to coat, raise heat to medium high, and add the chicken pieces to the center of the pan.
- Sprinkle the chicken with a bit of salt. Cook chicken about 4 minutes on one side so that it starts turning white on the cooked side. Turn the chicken over to cook for another 3 minutes or so.
- Add the chicken broth and basil to the pan. Stir to combine the chicken with the red peppers and garlic. Lower heat to simmer covered on medium low for about 10 minutes. This simmering will finish cooking the chicken through and get the flavors to come together. After the 10 minutes of simmering covered, remove the cover and cut open one of the thicker pieces of chicken to make sure it is cooked through.
- Stir in the spinach, and cook covered for a couple minutes until the spinach starts to wilt.
- As the chicken simmers, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain when the pasta is done to your liking, and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.
- When then chicken is cooked and spinach has wilted, add the chicken mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Stir in the feta cheese, followed by the olives and lemon juice. Plate and serve, passing additional feta cheese or parmesan cheese at the table.