chicken with spinach cream sauce

Even the most experienced of cooks have their go-to recipes, and this Tuscan chicken is a dish that recipe developer Feta Topalu says she’s been making for years. "When I first started cooking," she tells us, "this dish and a few other favorite ones were on constant rotation in our house." The reason for this, she explains, is that "when we liked something, it just stuck." While she’s expanded her repertoire quite a bit since those days, she assures us that "this one still makes its appearance at least once a month."

The great thing about this Tuscan chicken recipe, she says, is that everything is cooked in one pan, which makes for a quick clean up. Not only is the dish easy to make, though, but it also tastes amazing; Topalu describes it as having "an unbelievable amount of flavor from the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese," ingredients she feels are "a match made in heaven."

Assemble the ingredients for this creamy Tuscan chicken

ingredients for Tuscan-style chicken

To make this dish, you’ll be starting with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You’ll also need a selection of herbs and spices including dried basil, oregano, thyme, and marjoram as well as garlic powder, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and a few cloves of garlic. The sauce starts off with a base of heavy cream and is flavored with shallots, sun-dried tomatoes (the oil-packed kind), and Parmesan cheese. You’ll also need some butter and oil for cooking and, as a finishing touch, some baby spinach to stir into the sauce.

While Topalu says you can use chopped fresh spinach in place of baby spinach, she but does not recommend using frozen spinach, warning that "the finished dish would not have the same appearance and it could alter the texture." Another ingredient swap you can make is to use ½ teaspoon dried rosemary in place of the fresh stuff. While Topalu tells us that typically, the fresh-to-dried herb ratio when swapping is 3-to-1, she goes on to say that "when measuring out the dried rosemary, there is air in between the needles, so for this reason I feel like you can’t go wrong with using ½ teaspoon."

Cook the chicken breasts

seasoned chicken in metal pan

Start by pounding the chicken breasts so they are all the same thickness as this will ensure that they cook at the same speed. Once you finish bashing and smashing the chicken, season it with the dried herbs plus the salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil with the stove burner set to medium, then pan-fry the chicken for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side (12 to 16 minutes in all) until it’s cooked all the way through. Take the chicken out of the pan to rest while you prepare the sauce.

Simmer the sauce

sun-dried tomatoes cooking in oil

Melt the butter in the same pan you used to cook the chicken — there’s no need to wipe it out first. Sauté the shallot and rosemary in the melted butter until the shallot starts to soften and appears translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes to the mixture and cook them for 1 minute, then stir in the cream and Parmesan. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then add the spinach and cook it for about 2 minutes until it wilts. Taste the sauce and add some more salt and/or pepper if you feel they’re needed.

Add the cooked chicken to the sauce

chicken with spinach cream sauce

At this point, the sauce is pretty much done, so put the chicken back in the pan and spoon the liquid over it. Turn the heat down to low and cook the chicken in the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes in order to warm it up. If you like, you can then sprinkle some extra Parmesan over the chicken before you dig in.

Topalu suggests pairing this Tuscan chicken with asparagus, mashed potatoes, spaghetti squash, or Caesar salad and says that it would also go well with dinner rolls or focaccia bread. If there are leftovers, she assures us they should be good in the refrigerator for 3 days, but advises they’re "best reheated on the stovetop." The Tuscan chicken can also be frozen once it has cooled down, although for best flavor and texture, it’s best to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator rather than moving it straight from the freezer to the oven or microwave.

The great thing about this Tuscan chicken recipe, in addition to that luscious creamy sauce, is that everything is cooked in one pan.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 ½ pounds), pounded down to an even thickness
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • 1½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Optional Ingredients

  • Additional Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Season the chicken breasts with basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts in the hot oil for 6 to 8 minutes per side until they are no longer pink inside, then remove them from the pan.
  4. Melt the butter in the same skillet.
  5. Sauté the shallot and rosemary in the butter until the former is translucent and soft.
  6. Stir the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes into the shallots and cook them for 1 minute.
  7. Stir the cream and parmesan into the mixture and bring it to a simmer.
  8. Add the spinach to the sauce and cook it for about 2 minutes or until it wilts.
  9. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  10. Put the chicken back into the pan and spoon the sauce over it.
  11. Simmer the chicken on low for 4 to 5 minutes to warm it.
  12. Sprinkle the chicken with additional Parmesan if desired.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 864
Total Fat 57.8 g
Saturated Fat 29.8 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 348.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 7.6 g
Sodium 730.6 mg
Protein 71.9 g