Burst Cherry Tomato Basil Chicken Rigatoni


Remember this beautiful One Pan Tomato Basil Baked Orzo I posted a few months back? After making it countless times (and watching you all fall head-over-heels in LOVE with it) I knew I wanted to take those flavors and put a new spin on the dish.

There’s something so delicious and comforting about a creamy pasta dish made with a flavorful tomato sauce, and this tomato basil chicken pasta is just that. Tender pasta simmered in a luscious tomato basil sauce and topped with juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken. Ummm can you say perfection in a bowl?!

This hearty pasta dish is easy to make with simple ingredients, and can even be made with extra veggies, gluten-free, dairy-free, or with your choice of proteins! You probably know by now that I’m obsessed with all things spicy, but you can make this one mild if you’re not a fan of spice or are feeding kiddos. This chicken rigatoni is truly a make-it-your-way kinda dinner, and I know you’re going to love it.

tomato basil chicken rigatoni in a bowl

Ingredients in this tomato basil chicken pasta

This beautiful, spicy tomato basil rigatoni is made with simple ingredients and tons of incredible flavors. It’s creamy, spicy, fresh, and seriously crave-able. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Chicken: I like to use chicken breasts in this recipe, but feel free to use chicken thighs and see below for even more protein options!
  • Herbs & spices: you’ll need garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes for a kick of heat, and plenty of fresh basil.
  • Olive oil: you’ll also need a little olive oil for cooking the chicken and making the tomato sauce.
  • Pasta: as the name suggests, I like to use rigatoni in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite pasta shape!
  • For the sauce: we’re making a wonderful burst cherry tomato sauce with yellow onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, dry white wine (or chicken broth), heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and some simple herbs and spices. So easy and SO flavorful.
  • To garnish: I love topping my bowl with basil, extra parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.

cooking chicken in a pan for tomato basil rigatoni

Customize your tomato basil chicken rigatoni

Yes, you can easily swap some of the ingredients to fit your taste preferences! Here’s what I can recommend:

  • To add more vegetables: stir in 2 cups fresh chopped spinach after you add in the parmesan cheese.
  • To add even more flavor: stir in 1/4 cup basil pesto with the heavy cream.
  • To make dairy free: use full-fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream and a dairy free parmesan cheese (or just skip the parmesan cheese altogether).
  • To make gluten free: use a gluten free pasta. I suggest brown rice pasta.
  • To make it less spicy: if cooking for kids or those sensitive to heat simply leave out the red pepper flakes.

cooking cherry tomatoes in a pan for tomato basil pasta

Try a new protein

If you’re not in the the mood for chicken, try adding:

  • Sliced or crumbled cooked Italian sausage or meatballs (I love these mini pesto meatballs).
  • A can of drained tuna.
  • Or a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas or white beans or butter beans for a vegetarian version! You can also simply omit the chicken to keep the entire dish vegetarian. Toss beans in at the end or cook them with the cherry tomatoes for more flavor!

sauce for tomato basil chicken pasta in a pan

How to butterfly a chicken breast

I like to slice the chicken breasts open, a technique called “butterflying,” so that they’re thinner and cook evenly. It keeps the chicken flavorful and easy to slice and add to your tomato basil pasta! Here’s how to do it (before cooking the chicken):

  1. Place one hand on top of the chicken breast
  2. With a sharp knife, carefully slice the chicken breast horizontally down the middle.
  3. Open the chicken breast like a book, then cut it into two equal-sized pieces.

tomato basil rigatoni in a skillet

The best tomato basil chicken rigatoni in 5 steps

  1. Make your pasta. Start by cooking up that rigatoni until al dente. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water! Salt = flavor.
  2. Prep & cook the chicken. While the pasta is cooking you can butterfly your chicken, season it, and then cook it in a large, deep skillet with a little olive oil.
  3. Make the sauce. In the same skillet you used for the chicken, cook down the onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and salt until the tomatoes start to break down. Gently press down on the tomatoes to release their juices, then stir in the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Stir in the wine, then stir in the heavy cream and let the mixture simmer.
  4. Mix in the pasta. Add your cooked pasta and stir to evenly coat it with the sauce. Add a little pasta water to thin as needed, then add parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir in half of your basil.
  5. Garnish & serve. Slice your chicken and serve it on top of the pasta, then garnish with extra parmesan, red pepper flakes, and basil!

tomato basil chicken rigatoni in a skillet

What to serve with this tomato basil chicken pasta

tomato basil chicken pasta in two bowls

Storing tips

You can store any leftover tomato basil chicken pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave.

tomato chicken rigatoni in a bowl topped with basil

More pasta dishes you’ll love

Get all of my pasta recipes here!

I hope you love this spicy tomato basil chicken rigatoni! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Burst Cherry Tomato Basil Spicy Rigatoni with Chicken

tomato basil chicken pasta in a bowl

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Total Time 40 minutes

Serves6 servings

Delicious tomato basil chicken rigatoni simmered in a creamy burst cherry tomato sauce with a kick of heat from red pepper flakes. This protein-packed chicken rigatoni is wonderful as is and perfect for customizing with extra veggies and gluten free, vegetarian, or dairy free swaps! Kiddos and adults will LOVE this weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • For the chicken:
  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (ideally, 2 equal-sized breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the pasta and sauce:
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • ½ yellow onion, diced (or sub a shallot)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or sub chicken broth)
  • ½ cup heavy cream*
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • To garnish:
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Extra Parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Boil water for pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

  • Cook the pasta: Once water is boiling, add in the rigatoni and cook until al dente according to the directions on the package. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining; set aside.

  • Prepare the chicken: While the water boils and pasta cooks, place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and pat dry with paper towels. To butterfly the chicken breasts, place your hand on top of the chicken breast to secure it. Using a very sharp knife, carefully begin to cut horizontally, cutting almost through the other side. Open the butterflied chicken up like a book and cut into two equal sized pieces. Repeat with the other breast. Season both sides of the chicken with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

  • Cook the chicken: In a large, deep skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the chicken and sear until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil so it stays warm and set aside.

  • Prepare the sauce: In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup white wine and keep over medium heat. Cook, stirring and scraping up any bits on the bottom until the wine is reduced most of the way. Next drizzle in the olive oil, then ad the onion, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and kosher salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 10 minutes. Once tomatoes have softened, gently press the tomatoes down with the back of a wooden spoon to release their juices, then immediately stir in the tomato paste, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 minute until tomato paste deepens in color, which will allow the flavor to bloom. Stir in remaining white wine (or chicken broth) to deglaze and allow it to cook and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, then stir in the heavy cream and half of the basil and let it come to a simmer. Fold in the pasta so that it’s completely coated with sauce, adding more pasta water to thin the sauce as needed, then stir in the parmesan cheese, and additional salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Serve: Slice chicken and serve on top of the pasta immediately. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and remaining basil. ENJOY!

Recipe Notes

If you’d like you can cube the chicken and stir directly into the pasta (instead of butterflying it for this recipe): Toss cubed chicken with seasonings, then cook chicken in olive oil and sear on all sides until golden brown and fully cooked, about 5 to 8 minutes total. Remove chicken from pan as directed and make the sauce. Stir the chicken in when you add in the cooked pasta. This is an easier version and great for if you like coating your chicken with the sauce instead of serving it over the pasta! Up to you, as always.
To add more vegetables: Stir in 2 cups fresh chopped spinach after you add in the parmesan cheese in step 5.
*To make dairy free: Use full fat coconut milk instead of heavy cream and a dairy free parmesan cheese (or just skip the parmesan cheese all together).
To make gluten free: Use a gluten free pasta. I suggest brown rice pasta.
If cooking for kids or those sensitive to heat: Leave out red pepper flakes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving (based on 6)Calories: 585calCarbohydrates: 63.7gProtein: 31.7gFat: 19.6gSaturated Fat: 7.4gFiber: 3.8gSugar: 5.9g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats



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