Pasta Primavera with chicken is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to create a full dinner in one pan. All the veggies and protein required for a balanced meal are included in the dish, and it's pretty too!
Primavera means "Spring". Pasta primavera means pasta with Spring vegetables, although there is no hard and fast rule on exactly which ones you have to use.
Typically pasta primavera is enjoyed without any protein, but many people seek to incorporate a recipe for pasta primavera with chicken or seafood. Swap in any meat you like, or leave it out altogether.
Spring Vegetables- Just to name a few: peas, spinach, carrots, scallions (green onions), watercress, broccoli, garlic, asparagus, chives and fava bean. However, it's common to also include bell peppers, tomatoes (I like the little yellow and orange cherry tomatoes) and squash in pasta primavera too.
Garlic- This is a dish where it is best to mince your own fresh garlic from the clove.
Lemon- Use fresh, whole lemon instead of lemon juice concentrate.
Pasta- Any kind of pasta shape, from long ribbons like fettuccine, tagliatelle or pappardelle; to short cut penne, Farfalle, Gemelli, and Fiorella.
Parmesan- Optional. Better yet, real Parmigiano-Reggiano or can substitute Pecorino. Avoid pre-shredded cheese from a bag, unless you have the deli shred it for you off the block.
Pepper- coarse ground black pepper preferably.
Chicken- Breast, avoid dark meat. Or use small shrimp in place of chicken breast. Can omit meat altogether and it's equally delicious.
Butter/Olive Oil- your choice.
Step 1: Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of salted, water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions (1-2 minutes for fresh, homemade pasta).
When the pasta is al dente, scoop about a half cup of the starchy water out and set aside before draining the pasta.
Step 2: Brown the chicken. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
In a large, deep skillet, brown the chicken breast in a bit of oil or butter on both sides.
Once cooked through, remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate.
Allow chicken to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
Step 3: Sauté the vegetables. With the chicken set aside, add the butter or oil, minced garlic and asparagus to the skillet on medium heat; sauté until tender. (See recipe notes for vegetables other than those listed in this recipe.)
Add the tomatoes, peas, and carrots and saute for another minute or two.
Step 4: Finish, and toss. Turn of the heat, and to the skillet add the rest of the pasta, cheese, and squeeze of fresh lemon, and salt to taste.
Toss everything together. If the pasta feels sticky, add a splash of the reserved starchy pasta water to loosen it up, and toss again .
Sprinkle with more fresh cheese and squeezed lemon, and black pepper.
Step 5: Serve. Serve the pasta dish by placing the cooked chicken over beds of the pasta primavera. If desired, serve with additional cheese, black pepper, and a fresh lemon wedge.
If using vegetables other than those called for in the recipe: add longer cooking vegetables like whole green beans with the asparagus and garlic.
Quick cooking vegetables that tend to get squishy, like spinach, can go in with the pasta so they just get warm and maintain good texture.
Try these one-skillet pasta dinner recipes...
They are all full one-pan pasta dinners that are packed with veggies, and anything else you need.
If you tried this pasta primavera with chicken, leave a rating in the recipe card to help others find it too!
Chicken Pasta Primavera
- 1 lb pasta linguine, penne, tagliatelle, or other pasta shape of choice (or use gluten free pasta for gluten free dish) (cooked 2 minutes short of al dente, and 1 cup starchy cooking water reserved)
- 3 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1-2 chicken breasts thawed, patted dry with paper towels
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb asparagus woody ends trimmed, cut into 1 inch sticks
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half length wise
- 2 large carrots peeled, and sliced thinly into ribbons using peeler
- 1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- salt and coarse black pepper to taste
- Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta until 2 minutes short of al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining the pasta and set aside.
- Pat thawed chicken breast dry with paper towels; salt and pepper both sides. In a large skillet, on medium high heat, add butter or olive oil (3 tbsp.), and cook chicken breast on both sides until browned and cooked through (160 degrees F). Remove cooked chicken from the pan, and set onto a plate. Wait 5-10 minutes before slicing chicken into thin strips.
- In the same pan, on medium heat, and 4 cloves of minced garlic; and chopped asparagus (1 pound); sauté for4 minutes until tender.
- Add remaining cherry tomatoes (halved), carrot ribbons (two whole), peas (1 cup) and sauté for 1-2 more minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add cooked pasta, and juice of a lemon, ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and black pepper (to taste) and toss to coat. If it's sticky, add a splash of the starchy water to loosen the pasta up and toss again. Salt to taste.
- Top the pasta with the sliced chicken breast.
- Serve with extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese, coarse black pepper, and fresh lemon wedge.
- It's not advised to use lemon juice from concentrate in this dish.
- Shredding the Parmesan off the block rather than pre-shredded in the bag will melt easier and have better texture.
- Coarse black pepper gives a nice texture, but fine pepper is ok too
- It may not be necessary to salt, between the salted pasta water, the butter, and the cheese so be sure to taste before adding additional salt.
- For gluten free version, use gluten free pasta.