Chicken Alfredo Pasta with Bell Peppers, Asparagus, in a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce. The very creamy alfredo sauce is made completely from scratch with half and half, freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, basil and crushed red pepper!
This chicken and vegetable pasta is very easy to make, it’s colorful and vibrant! All the ingredients and the vegetables complement one another nicely.
It’s a quite good-looking pasta dish, don’t you think? No surprise here – if you combine all those colorful vegetables together with pasta, creamy sauce, and grilled chicken – it better look good! But looks are deceptive – this dish is embarrassingly easy to make! My instructions might seem long, but it’s only because I like to explain everything in detail, to prevent future questions. The recipe really could be condensed into 5 lines.
- Use sun-dried tomatoes in oil in a jar. Drain them from oil before adding to the skillet. Reserve the oil from sun-dried tomatoes to saute the vegetables.
- Don’t overcook the asparagus: cook it just enough so that it still has some crunch.
- Season your cream sauce generously with salt and crushed red pepper flakes: they really help to bring all the flavors together.
- Use pre-cooked chicken breasts or grilled chicken. Slice it thinly.
- Save some cooked pasta water. If your cream sauce gets too thick, use a small amount of pasta water to thin it out.
- Use 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream to replace 1 cup of half and half.
- To make the recipe gluten free, use gluten free brown rice penne. After cooking gluten free pasta in boiling water, rinse it with cold water to stop cooking. This will prevent the gluten free pasta from getting too soft and mushy and you will have your gluten free pasta “al dente” style.
- Use either shredded Parmesan or shredded Mozzarella cheese.
Vibrant and colorful Summer pasta made only better with easy, homemade version of Alfredo Sauce. This Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta with Bell Peppers, Asparagus, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes will become a family favorite in the Summer!
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, in a jar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or use oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar
- 0.5 lb asparagus
- 1 red bell pepper , cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper , cleaned and thinly sliced
- 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown rice penne)
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese , shredded
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes , at least, add more to taste
- 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
- salt to taste
- 1 lb chicken breast , grilled or cooked, sliced into strips
Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sauteing as described below:
In a large pan, on high heat, sautee garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar - see note above) for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant. Add the rest of vegetables (asparagus, each sprig cut into 3 slices, and thinly sliced bell peppers), sprinkle with a small amount of salt, and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they soften just a little (you still want them to have a bit of crunch).
Bring a large pan with water to boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water (to stop cooking).
Add half and half to the skillet with vegetables and bring to a gentle boil. Then, add shredded Parmesan cheese, mix it with half and half as it is boiling for only 30 seconds until it melts, then reduce heat immediately. Simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick - don't worry - you'll be adding some cooked pasta water soon. Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the creamy sauce, and stir to combine.
Add about 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water because the creamy sauce will be too thick (do not add all water at once - you might need less or more of it). This will water down the thickness of the cheese sauce and make it creamier. Immediately, season the pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
Top with grilled chicken breasts, sliced into strips - or stir them into pasta.
Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.