Today we’re going to make one of my favorite comfort meals, Italian Chicken with Pasta in a slow cooker. This dish is not just incredibly delicious, but also simple to prepare.
On days packed with tasks, you might crave a homemade meal, but can’t spare the energy or hours needed in the kitchen. Sound familiar?
YOu need a delightful chicken dish that is cooked patiently in a duo of creamy Alfredo and flavorful Prego Italian sauces. Then, we lay it over a bed of impeccably prepared pasta. This combo, it’s like a ticket to Italy, right there on your dinner plate!
This Finding Sanity Article will spill all the beans! We’ll chat about how to pick the top-notch ingredients.
Not just that, but we’ll walk through how to prep and slow-cook your chicken, cook pasta until it’s just right, and even toss in some handy advice for making it dairy-free if needed.
So, get your slow cooker ready and let’s get started on our journey to mastering the art of slow-cooked Italian Chicken with Pasta!
Choosing Your Key Ingredients
Picking the Perfect Chicken
When we talk about preparing pasta, the type of chicken you select has real importance. More often than not, chicken breasts are the standard choice. They’re lean, tender, and they have this incredible knack for taking on flavors.
When you’re out there in the supermarket, keep an eye out for chicken breasts that are fresh and well-rounded. They should present a pleasant pink color and shouldn’t have any peculiar smells.
However, there’s an alternative worth considering. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs offer a different take. They have a pronounced flavor and a juicy texture. It’s a deviation from the norm, but it might be a delightful one.
Deciding on the Right Pasta
This dish’s versatility and ability to be served with many kinds of pasta are part of its attractiveness. While the recipe calls for just a typical pasta box, feel free to get creative!
You could use anything from spaghetti to penne, fusilli, or even farfalle. Each type of pasta will give a slightly different character to the dish. But remember, the key is to cook it al dente for the best texture.
Exploring Alfredo and Prego Italian Sauce Varieties
Sauce is the soul of our Italian Chicken with Pasta. We’re using a combination of Alfredo and Prego Italian sauces to give our dish its unique flavor. The Alfredo sauce, with its creamy, rich texture, brings a comforting note.
While the Prego Italian Sauce adds a robust, garlicky tang that complements the chicken wonderfully. Feel free to experiment with different varieties of these sauces to suit your personal preference.
For instance, the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Prego Italian Sauce could be a great choice for garlic lovers out there.
Preparing Your Ingredients
Getting Your Chicken Ready
As we set out on our culinary journey, the right preparation of our chicken is key. For the dish we’re cooking up, there’s no need for slicing or dicing the chicken breasts. We’re going to put them in the slow cooker whole, just as they are.
But there’s a little prep work that’ll serve you well. Giving the chicken a quick rinse under cold water can work wonders.
Follow it up with a gentle pat down using paper towels. This step takes care of any leftover bits from the packaging, making sure your chicken is primed and ready for what comes next.
When it comes to pasta, preparation is fairly straightforward. You don’t need to do anything with it until you’re ready to cook, just store it in a cool, dry place until then.
We’ll be cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package, so keep it handy! Remember, the best pasta is cooked al dente, which means it’s soft enough to eat, but still has a bit of a bite. It shouldn’t be mushy or overly firm.
The Art of Slow Cooking Italian Chicken
The Slow Cooking Process
Now that our chicken is prepared, it’s time for the magic of slow cooking. If you’re new to slow cookers, you’re in for a treat. This method of cooking is a game-changer, especially for dishes like our Italian Chicken with Pasta.
It allows the chicken to cook gradually, absorbing all the brilliant flavors from the sauces, and becoming tender and juicy.
To start, place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the slow cooker. Then pour over the Alfredo Sauce and your choice of Prego Italian Sauce. To top it off, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauces.
This trio of ingredients will simmer together, creating a medley of flavors that is truly irresistible.
Understanding Cooking Durations
With slow cooking, timing is everything. For this recipe, you have two options. If you have the luxury of time, you can cook the chicken on Low for 6–8 hours. This slow, gentle cooking will ensure maximum flavor infusion.
But don’t worry if you’re short on time. You can also cook the chicken on High for 4 hours. This quicker method still offers plenty of time for the chicken to soak up all the delicious flavors from the sauces.
Mastering the Pasta Cookery
While your chicken is being transformed into a flavorful masterpiece in the slow cooker, it’s time to turn our attention to the pasta. Cooking pasta might seem simple, but achieving that perfect al dente texture requires a little bit of finesse.
Cooking Pasta to Al Dente
Let’s begin by getting a big pot of water to a boil. How much water, you ask? Well, the answer isn’t fixed.
But a useful tip is to have 4 quarts of water for every pound of pasta you’re cooking. This way, the pasta has ample space to swirl and dance, avoiding any sticky situations.
Now, when your water’s bubbling and boiling, it’s time for salt and plenty of it. This step is crucial; it’s your one shot to give the pasta itself some taste. So, no holding back! For our 16 oz box of pasta, envision at least a tablespoon.
Then, add your pasta. Stir it immediately to stop it from sticking. The water might stop boiling when you add the pasta, but it will return to a boil quickly. Let the pasta cook, stirring occasionally.
Serving Your Masterpiece
Now that we’ve slow-cooked our chicken to perfection and mastered the art of cooking pasta al dente, it’s time to bring these two stars together.
Plating the Perfect Dish
Start by laying a generous portion of pasta on each plate. Then, take a piece of the tender, flavorful chicken from the slow cooker and place it on top of the pasta. But we’re not done yet!
Remember that deliciously cheesy, flavorful sauce left in the slow cooker? Drizzle some of this over the chicken and pasta for an extra burst of flavor.
The result? A harmonious plate of Italian Chicken with Pasta that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate!
Exploring Dairy-Free Alternatives
Food is a universal language, a tool for bringing people together. That’s why I want to ensure everyone can savor this mouth-watering Italian Chicken with Pasta, dairy restrictions or not.
With just a handful of clever tweaks, we can transform this dish into a dairy-free delight, all while maintaining its delicious depth of flavor.
How to Adapt the Recipe
When it comes to dairy in this dish, the spotlight’s on two players: Alfredo sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
If you’re after a dairy-free option, though, there’s no need to fret. Alfredo sauce with no dairy? They’ve got it stocked on most grocery store shelves.
These sauces usually start with cashews or other nuts as their base. Creamy? Check. Flavorful? You bet.
Moving on to the shredded mozzarella cheese. For this, there’s a whole line-up of dairy-free cheeses at your disposal. The goal? To find one that turns into a melting, gooey marvel, just like the real mozzarella.
Lastly, let’s not forget about the Prego Italian Sauce. Many of its varieties already come without any dairy. Still, it never hurts to cast a glance over the label, just to make sure.
Storing and Reheating
Properly Storing Your Italian Chicken Pasta Dish
This Italian Chicken with Pasta is fantastic since it stores wonderfully, making it ideal for dinner preparation or for savoring leftovers.
Simply let any food that is left over cool to room temperature once you are done eating. After that, store it in the refrigerator in sealed containers.
A tip to remember: if possible, store the chicken, pasta, and sauce separately. This prevents the pasta from soaking up too much sauce and becoming soggy.
When you’re ready to dive back into your Italian feast, reheating is a breeze. If you’ve stored the components separately, start by reheating the chicken and sauce.
There are two paths you can take when heating this up: the microwave route or the stove top. If you go for the stove, keep it at medium heat and give it a good stir now and again. This makes sure everything warms up nice and even.
As for the pasta, don’t worry about being too careful. A quick plunge in hot water for 30 seconds to a minute tops. This is all it takes to wake it up. Mix that pasta with your chicken and sauce, the way you did the first time, and you’re back in business.
Just one thing to bear in mind. Only reheat what you’re planning to eat right then and there. If you heat and cool the same dish many times, it’s not going to do it any favors in terms of taste or safety.
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken with Pasta
- Slow Cooker
- 1 Jar Prego Italian Sauce
- 1 Jar Alfredo Sauce
- 4 Chicken breasts
- 2 Cups Shredded mozzarella cheese
- 16 Oz Box of pasta
- Place the uncooked chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Top with Alfredo Sauce, Prego Italian Sauce, and shredded mozzarella.
- Cook on Low for 6–8 hours or High for 4 hours.
- When ready to eat, cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Serve chicken on top of pasta with sauce.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
If the slow cooker is your new best friend, I have more recipes for you: