This simple, yet packed with big flavors, This delicious Pesto Chicken Florentine is made with penne pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese, covered with a creamy homemade Pesto Alfredo sauce!
Chicken Florentine Pasta
What exactly is Chicken Florentine, you ask? Well the culinary term “Florentine” or “à la Florentine” refers to a recipe that is made in the style of Florence, the city in Italy. Typically, these Florence-style recipes feature spinach that has been sautéed in butter, and are topped with a cheesy white sauce.
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Our recipe does include sautéed spinach and a creamy white sauce, only we threw it in with penne pasta noodles and added some pesto! The combination of Alfredo and pesto on top of the garlic-y, sautéed chicken and spinach really takes this pasta to the next level! Next time you’re in the mood for an extraordinary pasta dish, try this Chicken Florentine! It’s one the whole family will enjoy.
PESTO ALFREDO SAUCE:
This homemade Alfredo with a hint of pesto is the real star of this recipe. And the good news is, it’s super simple to make. This is how you do it:
- Add garlic to a pan and saute for 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth and let it bubble.
- Once it’s bubbling, add half&half, whipping cream, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. Whisk constantly until combined.
- Allow liquid to heat up and thicken for a few minutes.
- Once your sauce has reached your desired thickness, you’ll then add 2 tablespoons of pesto sauce (we love to use our Homemade Basil Pesto).
Easy Chicken Florentine FAQ
Can you use frozen spinach?I would recommend using fresh spinach. But if frozen is what you have on hand, it’s perfectly fine to use! Still use at least 2 cups of the frozen spinach—it shrinks a ton as it cooks.
Can you store chicken florentine? Place in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated for 2-4 days.
Additional ingredients to add?If you’re feeling ambitious and want to add a little extra something to the pasta, here are a few different options:
- Bacon – Cook up a few slices of bacon (or use precooked bacon), and chop into smaller bits. Add to the pasta at the same time as the chicken/spinach mixture, OR sprinkle on individual servings.
- Fresh Tomatoes – Top individual servings with freshly diced tomato.
- Fresh Basil – Sprinkle fresh basil on top of individual helpings right before serving.
- Mushrooms – Add 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms to the skillet with the spinach and sauté. Follow the rest of the recipe the same way.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes – If you’re using dry sun-dried tomatoes, add 1/2 cup to the skillet at the same time as the spinach and sauté. If you have oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, simply drain the oil and add 1/2 cup as you combine the sautéed mixture with the pasta.
If you’re anything like me and love pesto, you could maybe add a little more than 2 tablespoons to the sauce. We decided we want to add extra pesto next time! And believe me, there will be a next time for this recipe – the whole family loved it, even my kids who favor red sauce pastas. 😉
Do you like the chicken Florentine flavors of this pasta? You might want to try the soup version!
Complete the meal by making these other recipes:
For even more delicious pasta dishes, be sure to try:
Chicken Florentine Pasta
This delicious Pesto Chicken Florentine is made with penne pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese, covered with a creamy homemade pesto Alfredo sauce!
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halved and cut into strips
- 2 c fresh spinach leaves
- 16 oz pkg dry penne pasta
- 1 TB grated Romano cheese
Homemade Pesto Alfredo Sauce
- 1 c chicken broth
- 1 c half and half
- 1/2 c whipping cream
- 1 c parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 2 TB pesto
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, sauté garlic in hot oil for 1 minute. Add chicken and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side. Once chicken is cooked through, add your spinach and sauté together for 3-4 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cool water and let drain.
Prepare Alfredo sauce by adding garlic to a separate pan and sauté for 1 minute. Add broth, let bubble. Then add half&half, whipping cream, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. Whisk constantly until combined. Allow liquid to heat up and thicken for a few minutes. Once your sauce has reached your desired thickness, you'll then add 2 tablespoons of pesto sauce; set aside.
Add chicken/spinach mixture to your pasta and stir in the Pesto/Alfredo sauce. Mix well, top with Romano cheese. Serve.