Chicken Recipes: Penne Pasta and Almond Alfredo Sauce

I love Alfredo sauce but it’s generally not vegetarian and it’s full of cream which while delicious, isn’t necessarily the best thing for a healthy body. I will be making this for myself again soon using faux chicken and vegetable stock, but tonight it’s all meat and one of my husband’s favorite chicken recipes.

This Almond Alfredo sauce was based on one at the Food Network site.  Much of the  heavy cream is replaced by almonds which are ground in a food processor with the chicken or vegetable stock and it makes a creamy sauce on that’s delicious and high in good nut fat. With the addition of  few vegetables, this is a great one-dish meal.

The recipe is easy and quick enough for a weekday dinner at under 30-minutes, just make sure everything is prepared ahead because for about 3-4 minutes, your attention will need to be on the sauce. Be so the lemon should be grated and ready to toss in as well as the Parmesan cheese grated (not shredded – you’ll want the finer cheese so that it melts quicker and incorporates into the sauce completely and quickly. Once the sauce is on the stove you’ve got just 5 minutes from start to finish.

This reheats well if you store the sauce and the noodles separately. To reheat the noodles, bring a pan of water to boil, add the pasta for 1-2 mins then drain. Reheat the sauce slowly in a saucepan until hot. For those of you who use the microwave just microwave them separately.

Chicken Recipes: Penne Pasta and Almond Alfredo Sauce
So delicious and just a few simple ingredients. You can make fabulous Alfredo Sauce in 30 minutes or less!
Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Total Time: 
Ingredients
  • 13-16 oz penne pasta (regular or mini)
  • 1 ¼ c slivered almonds
  • 1 pint (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (divided)
  • 1 pd skinless boneless chicken, cut into bite size pieces (or leftover cooked chicken approximately 1-1/2 cups)
  • 8 oz frozen petite peas and carrots
  • ½ c heavy cream
  • Zest from one large lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbls fresh basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, add 2 Tbls of the Olive Oil and 1 garlic clove. Over medium heat, add the chicken (season with salt and pepper) and cook until the outside is browned and the meat is cooked through (about 7 minutes).
  2. While the chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook per the package directions, just until tender but still firm to the bite (Al Dente), stirring occasionally.
  3. While both the chicken and pasta are cooking, in a large food processor or blender, combine the almonds, stock, 2 Tbls olive oil, and 2 garlic cloves and blend until smooth and no nut solids are left. If your processor/blender is too small to do the entire sauce at once, do it in batches, returning them to a bowl to stir and re-blend until smooth).
  4. When the chicken is finished, remove it from the heat and move it to a plate and set aside. You'll be reusing the pan for the sauce (wipe clean if you're a white sauce purest).
  5. When the pasta is done, drain (reserve 1 cup of the pasta liquid); set aside
  6. Get your lemon zest, cream, frozen vegetables, cheese, and basil measured and ready and set next to the stove.
  7. In the pan used to brown the chicken, add the stock/almond mixture and over med-high heat bring it to a boil. Stir continuously for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens
  8. Lower the temperature to medium and add the cooked chicken, Parmesan cheese, peas and carrots, cream, basil, and lemon zest to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently just until the chicken is heated through, about 2-4 mins (the sauce will be very thick with the addition of the cheese - too thick? Add some of the reserved pasta water to desired consistency).
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  10. Serve tossed together or on top of the noodles as in the photo.

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I hope you give this recipe a try – I think you’ll find it’ll be a regular addition to your standard chicken recipes – it’s that good!