Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce

DinnerQuick and EasyChickenPasta and Noodles

Cubed chicken sautéed in olive oil, served with pasta in a creamy sauce infused with thyme, mint, and honey.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What is it about cream sauces with pasta? The ultimate comfort food, right?

This is a quick and easy chicken pasta with a cream sauce infused with thyme, mint, and lemon.

What a great flavor combination! And the kicker is that by the time the pasta water has come to a boil and the pasta is cooked, everything else is ready too, making for a filling, tasty midweek meal.

Chicken Pasta with Thyme and Mint

The cream sauce is one that we found by Chef Stephan Pyles in a 2007 Wall St. Journal. He had paired it with fried chicken.

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucine
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh spearmint (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1 Heat 4 quarts of salted water (1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts) in a large pot for the pasta.

2 Brown the chicken: As the water heats, prepare the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the chicken pieces to the hot pan, spreading them out initially and then not stirring them, so they have an opportunity to brown. Once lightly browned on one side, use tongs to flip the pieces over so they brown on the second side.

When pieces are browned on both sides, and just cooked through, remove to a paper towel lined plate.

3 Make the sauce: Deglaze the pan with white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken stock and let liquids reduce by half (turn up the heat if necessary). Add the cream, mint, thyme, lemon zest, honey, salt, and vinegar. Reduce the sauce by half again.

4 Cook the pasta: Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook following directions on pasta package.

5 Add pasta and chicken to sauce: When pasta is ready, reserve a half cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the cream sauce when cream sauce has been reduced by half and can thickly coat a spoon.

Add chicken to the pasta and sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste (be generous with both!) Add back some of the reserved pasta water if after a few minutes the pasta needs more liquid to loosen it.

Serve immediately. Garnish with a little chopped fresh mint and thyme.

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Chicken Pasta with Thyme and Mint

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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25 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jesica

    I just made this last night, and it was very good. The sauce was my favorite part, it does make a lot of food so we have a good bit of left overs.

  2. Andrea

    Let me just say that I love this recipe. It is delicious and fairly quick to make. I’ve made it three times now. I’ve used water once instead of chicken stock (I didn’t have any) and it wasn’t too terrible, although the chicken stock certainly gives it more flavour. (I upped the amount of wine and used less water)

    The one issue that I had with this recipe was that it’s very thin. Maybe I am used to thicker recipes (I do love Alfredo!), so I made a slurry (I used 1/4 cup of ice cold water & 1/4 cup of flour) which solved the problem!

    Delicious! Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Shelah

    My boyfriend and I made this last night for our anniversary meal, and it was simply delicious. This was the first time using mint and I was skeptical about using it, but I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle flavor it added in the end. I could also really taste the thyme (maybe a bit too much, but that’s probably my fault since I wasn’t careful about measuring this), a hint of lemon, and a finish of honey. This was definitely a pasta I could savor and make again and again.
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

    As for slight changes, I did use the apple cider vinegar since I couldn’t locate the sherry vinegar, and it worked quite well.
    I didn’t use the full pound of fettuccine since I added little by little and noticed that it probably wouldn’t all get an adequate coating of the sauce.
    Dry vermouth works very well as the dry white wine.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Nikki

    Dear Elise, just made this tonight, dinner for two but EASILY for 4. The sauce was a bit thick on my side, I think I let it reduce a little too far. For variation I added some button brown mushrooms and used a little bit of some soaked mushrooms liquid when I first browned the chicken on the pan. It turned out so delicious! The mint I used from Mom’s herb garden was LEMON MINT but it wasn’t as strong as regular fresh mint. Perhaps I should try that next time. My friend loved it. :) Thanks so much! I love you. OMG I LOVE YOU ELISE. (I LOVE YOU.) xx

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Kate

    I’ve made this 2-3x now & thought I should encourage anybody thinking about trying this recipe to DO IT!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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