NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With everyone's busy schedule, there is always a need for a quick and easy dish that will make your guest feel you have been slaving away in the kitchen all day. Although this dish is quick and easy, it peaks big flavor.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Yields: 6 Servings
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed
1 pound penne pasta
4 tbsps butter
2 tbsps minced garlic
4 tbsps flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbsps cream cheese
1½ cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
Bring a large pot salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add penne pasta and cook until al dente, 6–8 minutes. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add flour and whisk constantly to create a white roux. Let roux cook 1–2 minutes then add heavy whipping cream, a little at a time, whisking to work out any lumps. Sauce will thicken quickly at the beginning, but as you continue to whisk, heavy cream will loosen the sauce. Cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cream cheese until cheese is completely melted. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking sauce until pasta reaches al dente. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving all cooking liquid, then set both pasta and water aside. Add Parmesan, chicken and spinach into sauce. Stir until cheese has melted. If sauce is too thick, add reserved cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time, until desired consistency, stirring constantly to incorporate. Add pasta to sauce and stir until sauce coats pasta. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Serve immediately.