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I have waxed poetic about my love for one-pot pasta many times before, so I will try to give you the short version. The glory is that everything cooks in the same pot – the pasta, the protein, whatever accouterments you’re throwing in… it all simmers in its own sauce. That means the ingredients absorb some extra flavor from the sauce, but it also means you don’t need to wash a bunch of dishes. It’s genius – and this Chicken Florentine Pasta illustrates exactly why that is.

Pasta is often a multi-phased process – you might cook a protein, you boil the noodles, you build the sauce. Here, you still get all those layers of flavor, it’s just done all in the same pot as you build upon each phase. You start by browning the chicken with some sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.

Before you stir in some chicken broth, heavy cream, thyme, and the gemelli. That liquid forms the base of your sauce and the pasta simmers in it until it becomes tender and the chicken cooks through. And trust me, that cooking liquid lends a lot more flavor than plain water.

What makes a dish “florentine” is, of course, the spinach but that doesn’t get stirred in until the final minutes so it has just enough time to wilt. It adds that irony earthiness that only spinach can, but it’s not overwhelming, it’s perfectly balanced with the creaminess and the subtle sweetness from the sun-dried tomatoes.

A little Pecorino Romano and chili flake and all that’s left to do is dig in.

And oh boy, is that digging in something to look forward to. In (close to) the time it would take you to boil the noodles on their own, you’ve built an entire dish that’s all at once hearty and delicately creamy, and layered with bright and fresh flavor. It won’t take you long at all, it will just taste like it did.

One-Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta

Serves 4; 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook time

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups uncooked gemelli pasta
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flake
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until chicken is browned but not cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Sprinkle with flour and cook 1 minute more. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, thyme, and pasta. Bring liquid to a boil, stir again, and cover.
  5. Let cook 5 minutes, stir in spinach, reduce heat to medium, and cover again.
  6. Cook 5 minutes more, uncover, stir in Pecorino Romano and chili flake, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with more freshly grated Pecorino Romano, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Life Jolie.