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.
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
- 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
- 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
Heat 4 quarts of salted water:
(1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts) in a large pot for the pasta.
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.
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.
Cook the pasta:
Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook following directions on pasta package.
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.