Creamy Tuscan Chicken Recipe (30 minutes)

A decadent dinner doesn't require hours of preparation and lots of messy dishes to clean. This one-pan wonder is proof. Herby chicken cutlets float in a garlicky parmesan cream sauce loaded with luscious spinach and crisp sun-dried tomatoes for a sumptuous meal the whole family will agree on.

And since it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, it's quick enough for the busiest weeknight (though it feels pretty special on the weekend, too).

What is Tuscan Chicken?

Despite its name, the Tuscan chicken did not originate in Tuscany. Instead, the dish was created and popularized by the Italian-American chain restaurant, Olive Garden.

The original recipe featured pan seared chicken in a thick and creamy garlic parmesan sauce with wilted spinach and red bell peppers served over fettuccine pasta. Over the years, both fresh and sun-dried tomatoes have been used instead of pepper, giving the dish a more Italian feel—just don't expect to find it on menus in Italy.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Sun-dried tomatoes vs. oil-packed ones

My take on Tuscan chicken uses sun-dried tomatoes, lending their sweet-tart, bold flavor to every bite. They come in two forms: oil-filled and dry. Oil-packed items are slightly more common in grocery stores and are sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and sold whole or thinly sliced ​​(labeled “julienne cut”) in jars.

Sun-dried tomatoes are sold in containers or bags that are often vacuum-sealed to prevent them from drying out too much and becoming hard. Either works in this recipe.

If you use oiled sun-dried tomatoes, remove them from their pot of oil (save the oil for vinaigrettes and for sauteing eggs!) and pat them dry. If using sun-dried tomatoes, avoid anything too dry and hard—they should be fairly soft and pliable.

Tips and tricks

  • If you can't find chicken cutlets, buy 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total). Lay the chicken breast flat on your cutting board and use a sharp chef's knife to cut it in half horizontally. Each chicken breast will give you 2 cutlets.
  • If you don't have dried oregano, use dried Italian allspice, rosemary, or thyme instead.
  • Need to give up white wine for any reason? Here are some great alternatives.
  • Heavy cream will give you the most luxurious sauce here, but if you want to lighten things up a bit, you can use half-and-half instead. The sauce will still be creamy but a little less rich.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe

How to Serve Creamy Tuscan Chicken

It feels natural to serve this creamy dish over pasta to catch all the sauce. Long shapes like fettuccine and spaghetti are good choices, as well as shorter shapes like penne and even orzo.

Pasta isn't your only option, though. My favorite choice is polenta, whose nutty, mildly sweet flavor balances out all the savory richness and makes this dinner naturally gluten-free. Mashed potatoes, mashed cabbage, rice, and farro are also good options.

One Pan Chicken Dinner

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