Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Do you know want to know how many times I failed this recipe? It's a lot.
It always turned into some strange curdled mess and I don't even know how it happened until this past Sunday, I friggin' figured it out! I generally only mess up a recipe once and then I learn quick from my mistake but for whatever reason, I did something wrong every time.
All I really wanted in my life was creamy lemon chicken pasta, but I don't mean like the weak mostly butter, creamy lemon chicken pasta, I wanted the good stuff. Not Alfredo, but a really good lemon chicken with a light cream sauce. I had previously watched videos and followed them exactly and then when I added the cream to create the sauce I realized that my obvious problem was alllllll of these recipes had you making this in a same pan situation, and that was the fail. I might be late to the party, but it took me until three days ago to figure out how to make what I wanted.
Start by making the chicken marinade and let it sit for like 1 hour, 2 if you want a more in-your-face lemon flavor. Matt doesn't like lemon chicken because anytime he's had it he felt like it was too pungent, and I can see that. I am very odd and like, LOVE, lemon. If it wouldn't make a sticky mess, I would squeeze fresh lemon all over my house.
I had this idea that maybe if used a little bit less lemon zest and juice, and didn't let it marinate for 2+ hours, the flavor would be there, but it wouldn't be overwhelming. AND YOU GUESSED IT BABY, I was right. It was perfect. I grilled it outside because it had been such a nice warm day, started boiling the water while the grilled heated up, once the it was rolling, I salted and added the pasta in, then set my marinated chicken on the grill.
Once that was set, I began making the cream sauce. On a low medium heat, pour in two cups of cream until it gets just hot enough to simmer, but never boil. This was my mistake all the other times. It cannot boil and you cannot cook it with the chicken in the pan. The lemon and the cream react and it's a sad, curdled mess. So as that heats up, just keep an eye on it for a simmer. Pasta will be cooked in 7-9 minutes depending on your stove top. Chicken should be flipped in 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness. When the chicken and the pasta are finished, drain pasta and let the chicken rest before cutting.
Now that the only left to do is focus on the cream sauce, once you get that soft simmer, stick your *clean* finger in it a little bit to make sure its hot, sprinkle in a half cup of shredded parmesan cheese, or fresh grated if you have it and start whisking! Add salt to your liking, again you'll have to test it. Dress you pasta in the cream sauce and cut your chicken into preferred size strips to top the dish. Serve with a little sprinkle of parsley and a little more parmesan if you like, and we did it!
So glad I could get this over with and stop throwing curdled, parmesan, lemon, cream into my garbage.
Also, kid approved.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied all the way through
1/2 lb of pasta (about half the box, but you can use the entire box, add more chicken)
1/3 CUP olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
juice of the lemon
1/2 TSP of basil, thyme & rosemary
2 TSP of oregano
2 large garlic cloves (minced or chopped fine)
salt & pepper to taste
2 CUPS heavy cream/creamer
1/2 CUP parmesan cheese
1. Marinate chicken in olive oil, lemon zest, juice of that lemon, basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and minced/thin chopped garlic. I use a ziplock bag. 1-2 hours, depending on how pungent you want the lemon flavor.
2. After chicken marinates, begin boiling the water for pasta in a medium sized sauce pan. Salt the water once it boils, add in pasta. Follow boxed instructions for time.
3. Set chicken on the grill.
4. Flip chicken at 3 minutes.
5. In a small sauce pan, warm two cups of heavy cream on a low/medium heat, don't let it reach a boiling point.
6. Remove chicken from grill at 165 degrees, and let it rest.
7. Drain pasta.
8. When the cream begins to simmer, stir to ensure thorough heat.
9. Remove from heat, add 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese.
10. Whisk until smooth.
11. Add in salt, and taste to test it. Add more if desired.
12. Dress pasta in the cream sauce. Nest into a bowl or plate.
13. Chop chicken into strips and place on top of the pasta.
14. Garnish with parsley and a lemon wedge.
15. Enjoy xoxo