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Basil chicken tomato pasta is a quick and delicious addition to your weeknight dinners. This simple tomato pasta basil recipe has a thick and flavorful Italian tomato sauce, tender chicken pieces, and plenty of fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
Why We Love This Basil Tomato Chicken Pasta
It’s effortless to make, yet tastes like a sophisticated dish. This is what I love about pasta dishes in general. They’re quite straightforward, and as soon as you master some tricks and techniques, you can whip up a delectable dinner in no time.
The sauce tastes just like dreamy tomato sauce from Italy. I’ve used all the secret methods of my Italian friend’s nana and let me tell you, it makes a difference. The sauce is rich, creamy, and full of flavor.
You can easily make the tomato basil chicken sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, simply cook some pasta, heat up the sauce, and mix it all together.
What You Need For This Simple Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta
This recipe is super simple, but make sure to use high-quality ingredients and you’ll end up with a restaurant-level dinner.
Ingredients for basil tomato chicken pasta:
- 8 oz. Uncooked Italian spaghetti
- 1/3 cup olive oil (extra virgin for the tastiest result)
- 4 oz. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 2 ½ tsp. Sea salt, divided
- ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
- 1 16-oz. Can diced Italian tomatoes (or passata)
- 2 Tbsp. good quality tomato paste (Italian tomatoes are generally sweeter)
- ½ cup fresh basil, divided
- ¼ cup freshly shredded carrot (to make the chicken extra tender)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese (for serving)
How To Make Basil Tomato Chicken Pasta
You only need a large pot and a large skillet for making this simple pasta dish.
Step 1: Frying the chicken
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the pan, but keep the oil in it.
Step 2: Make the tomato sauce
Turn the heat to medium-high and add minced garlic to the same pan with the chicken drippings and oil.
Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), then turn the heat down to low, add the carrot, and let sizzle for 3 minutes.
Pour in diced tomatoes and tomato paste, plus another ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for a good 10 minutes. This will allow the sauce to thicken and become richer in flavor.
Step 3: Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, boil the pasta in a large pot as per package instructions, adding 2 teaspoons of salt to the boiling water. This gives the pasta some flavor.
Once cooked al dente (tender but slightly chewy when bitten), drain the pasta water in a colander and add the pasta back to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil to prevent it from sticking together if needed.
Step 4: Bring it all together
Add half of the fresh basil and the cooked chicken to the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and add the tomato sauce to the pot of pasta.
Step 5: Enjoy your Simple Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta!
Mix to coat each spaghetti with sauce and then serve in 4 bowls. Top with remaining fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Notes & Tips
- To level up the flavor, you can add half an onion diced, but it’ll take an extra 10 minutes to cook it until soft and tender. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of crunchy undercooked onion in my tomato sauce.
- If you happened to make a batch of tomato sauce like this Easy Pomodoro Sauce or you have some homemade canned tomato sauce in the pantry, you can use that. In this case, simply cook the chicken in a little oil and then add the sauce and heat it through.
- Set a timer for your pasta according to the minutes indicated on the packaging. Wait until the water is boiling, add the pasta, stir and set the timer. Spaghetti usually takes 8-10 minutes to cook al dente.
- For perfect timing, bring the pot of water to a boil when you start preparing the sauce. By the time the sauce is ready, the pasta should be al dente.
- If your tomato sauce hasn’t thickened enough and the pasta is already done, add some olive oil to the pasta and toss it. This will keep the spaghetti from sticking to each other.
- I highly recommend using freshly grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese. The packaged kinds have additives that inhibit the flavor and mess with the texture of the cheese. No Bueno.
- Don’t skimp on the olive oil and use extra virgin olive oil for the best result. I know 1/3 cup sounds like a lot, but trust me. This is the secret to appreciating all the umami in the tomato sauce. Beside, extra virgin olive oil has so many health benefits.
Storage & Substitutions
This simple tomato basil chicken pasta is best served immediately. You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. But the spaghetti will be overcooked when reheated. I don’t recommend freezing the pasta.
To have dinner ready in 10 minutes, you can easily make the tomato basil chicken sauce and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, simply cook some pasta, heat up the sauce, and mix it all together.
Feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer dark meat. You can even try turkey pieces instead, or shrimp. Yum! Or even plant-based meat for a vegan alternative.
If the sauce is too acidic, add half a teaspoon of sugar, taste, and add half a teaspoon more if needed. The carrot should already balance out the acidity enough, but if you like it sweeter, this is a good option.
You can also use any kind of pasta you’d like. Make it gluten-free by using corn pasta, or try a different shape like penne or linguine. For some extra fiber and nutrients, try whole grain pasta.
If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute with dried. About ½ tablespoon of dried basil will be enough for this recipe. Add it in with the garlic to bring out its fragrance.
Other Pasta Recipes You May Like
Here are some other delicious and easy pasta recipes you should try. They’re ready in 30 minutes or less!
Chicken Rasta Pasta. A creamy sauce with Jamaican seasonings, tender chicken, and three colors of bell pepper. Just like the Rasta flag, hence the name. Delish!
Quick & Simple Tuna Pasta Salad. This dish is great for picnics, easy lunches, or parties. It’s easy to whip up, super versatile, and tasty.
Rich & Spicy Vodka Sauce Pasta. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the vodka in this dreamy creamy pasta sauce. But it does have a kick from harissa and a perfect blend of tomatoes, aromatics, and cream.
But now, let’s make this amazing tomato basil pasta recipe with chicken!
- 8 oz. Uncooked Italian spaghetti
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 oz. Boneless skinless chicken breasts diced
- 1 ½ tsp. Sea salt divided
- ½ tsp. Freshly ground pepper
- 1 16- oz. Can diced Italian tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste
- ½ cup fresh basil divided
- ¼ cup freshly shredded carrot
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Heat about the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, but keep the oil.
- Add minced garlic to the same pan and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute)
- Turn the heat down to low, add the carrot and let sizzle for 3 minutes.
- Pour in diced tomatoes and tomato paste, plus another ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for a good 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil the pasta in a large pot as per package instructions, adding 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Drain it and add it back to the pot.
- Add half of the fresh basil and the cooked chicken to the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the sauce to the pot of pasta.
- Mix to coat spaghetti with sauce. Serve topped with remaining fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!