For pasta lovers (and especially cheese lovers) I have another easy homemade chicken alfredo pasta recipe that will allow you to change things up, while still indulging in that cravable alfredo flavor. This pasta dish is similar to other chicken alfredo pasta I have made, but with some very important differences that I know you’ll enjoy!
The Genius of Shells for Chicken Alfredo Pasta
There are so many different pasta shapes and sizes, they are impossible to keep track of without devoting a whole field of study to their classification and utilization. What I can tell you is that I love Italian food and when it comes to the many ways to enjoy it, I have my favorites and not-so favorites. For my money, I appreciate a pasta that can hold sauce really well. It should also be relatively easy to get onto a fork. Some pasta must be stabbed, others twirled.
But there is a pasta type that works as well with a spoon as with a fork because it is not only stabbable, it’s scoopable, too. The best example of this is pasta shells. Shells are nice and plump, easy to pierce, and easy to eat by the spoonful if you so choose. Unlike many other types of pasta, I find that shells perform best in a bowl, which makes them easier to enjoy. Bowls are more personal and so the experience for me becomes more comforting and more experiential. When you are cooking your own meals, you want that stronger impact as you eat them. It appeals to your sense of gratification by creating an embellished sense of the reward for your effort.
So a hearty and creamy chicken pasta bowl made with incredible cream cheese alfredo sauce really hits the spot. Especially when the pasta is made with shells compared to other types of pasta that we all have to choose from.
The Art of Homemade Sauce for Chicken Alfredo Pasta
The shape of your pasta is an important decision to make early on, either when you are meal planning or shopping. However, the first thing that likely springs to mind when you want to make a pasta dish is the sauce. You probably have a craving for the sauce before you even realize you want pasta. I know that happens to me all the time. The pasta in some ways is only a vehicle for the sauce, although, if the sauce is good enough– particularly with marinara– I could just eat it on its own. Alfredo is a little bit different. It has to go onto something, But I find that alfredo sauce is the one I often get the most intense cravings for.
If you have never made alfredo sauce at home there is a traditional way and a way that incorporates cream cheese. A classic alfredo sauce is easy and super cheap to make, especially if you are feeding a lot of people. All it requires is heavy cream, parmesan/romano cheese, nutmeg, and egg yolk. It involves a lot of whisking and that’s about it. You don’t need to add flour. I suggest adding some garlic and pepper, perhaps a little Slap Ya Mama, but it is not a complicated recipe at all!
The cream cheese shortcut is even easier and it gives the classic cream sauce even more flavor. The cream cheese helps things out texturally because instead of getting the sauce to thicken from whisking, you are thinning the sauce out, which is a bit easier. Melting the cream cheese along with the onions and garlic allows the flavors to permeate throughout the sauce while it is cooking. Then, I like to add further enhancements by tossing in some fresh herbs!
Fresh VS Dried Herbs in Chicken Alfredo Pasta
This recipe calls for two herbs that you can take from your spice rack or your herb garden. If you’re shopping for these herbs, you can pick up the fresh version in the produce section of your grocery store, or get the bottled-up version in the spice aisle. Whichever suits your purposes will be fine. In some cases, the fresh herbs just aren’t available and you have to make due. However, these are common herbs that are very easy to grow at home and take very little space. Fresh herbs will make your sauce much more robust and vibrant, but adding either kind will at least add more dimension to your dish, which is important with cream-based sauces.
To Garnish or Not to Garnish?
Optional garnishing may make more of a difference in some regards and less of a difference in others. If you are just whipping up a quick lunch for yourself, you might skip the garnish. Of course, if it’s going on Instagram, you’ll want to include it. Anytime you are serving it to guests, or your family, this and other pasta dishes should always include garnish. This is especially true for white sauces since you will want to add a pop of color. If you are cooking for pickier eaters and they won’t like green onions, just swap out the onion for parsley or some additional basil.
Why Top with Monterey Jack Cheese?
One more optional inclusion I have for this chicken alfredo pasta is Monterey jack cheese as a topper. Why top it with additional cheese? Why Monterey Jack specifically? Well to answer the first question, I say “why not?” Regarding the use of Monterey Jack, the answer is simple. Monterey jack is a brilliant complement to the cream cheese in the sauce.
Adding a topper of shredded cheese just adds some texture and additional cheesiness that is usually welcome with a dish like chicken alfredo pasta. The flavor of the Monterey jack cheese is mild with just a bit of bite, which I feel enhances the recipe and it also creates a little bit more substance to grab onto while you are diving into your bowl. The jack cheese provides some support for the shells and helps more of the sauce to get used by giving it more to coat.
This hearty and delicious chicken recipe is absolutely scrumptious. If you would like to change things up a bit, try adding broccoli, spinach or your favorite vegetables for added flavor. Also, change up the pasta by using penne, fettuccine or rotini pasta. Any pasta will taste great.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store leftovers in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. To reheat, just remove desired amount, place it in a microwave safe bowl, and heat until hot or place in a saucepan on the stove and heat on low until hot.
Ingredients Needed to Make Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Small Pasta Shells
- Chicken Breast
- Olive Oil
- Slap Ya Mama
- Red pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- Cream Cheese
- Heavy Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Green onions and fresh parsley, optional
How to Make Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Step 1: Prep – Gather all of the ingredients and measure out the spices. Chop the onions and mince the garlic. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente, stirring frequently, drain and set aside. Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into half small bite-size pieces.
Step 2: Cooking the Chicken – In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil. Once the oil is hot, add chicken pieces, Slap Ya Mama, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Stir and cook chicken until no longer pink. Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Set aside.
Step 3: Making the Sauce – In the same skillet, add butter, cream cheese, onions, and garlic. Heat over low heat. Stir and when cream cheese is almost completely melted, add heavy cream. Stir to combine then add oregano and basil. Whisk and continue to simmer over low heat until cream cheese is completely melted. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese into the mixture. Stir until sauce starts to thicken, approximately 10 minutes. Add pasta and chicken back to skillet and top with Monterey Jack cheese, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to tastes. Serve hot.
Try This Delicious Chicken Alfredo Recipe Today
Here are some more delicious recipes that can be found on the blog:
You can also try this delicious Cheesy Italian Pasta from Great Grub Delicious Treats.
Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- 16 ounce pasta shells small
- 2 chicken breasts. boneless, skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion. diced
- 3 cloves garlic. minced
- 1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¾ cup butter
- 6 oz cream cheese. cubed
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1¾ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups Monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)
- green onions sliced
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Cut chicken breasts in ½ inch pieces.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
- Add chicken, Slap Ya Mama, salt, and pepper to skillet.
- Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
- Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Set aside.
- In the same skillet, add butter, cream cheese, onions, and garlic over low heat.
- Stir and when cream cheese is almost completely melted, add heavy cream. Stir.
- Add oregano and basil and whisk. Continue to cook over low heat until cream cheese is completely melted.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese into mixture. Stir until sauce starts to thicken. Approximately 10 minutes.
- Return chicken to pan and stir to combine.
- Add Monterey jack cheese and serve hot.
- Top with sliced green onions if desired.
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.