As much as we’d like to hop on a plane and jet off to Italy, the closest we can get today is via slow cooker to give us a taste of Italy right in our own kitchen. We draw upon classic flavors to help us create a flavor experience that pays homage to essential Italian cooking, like parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, and bright green spinach – the colors of the Italian flag! We love this recipe for how simple it is to prepare and how delicious it is to eat. As we sit around the table, we can start to plan our Italian vacation, inspired by the flavors of this wonderful meal.
Building layers of flavor is an important part of the cooking process, and since chicken is typically rather bland, we start to build flavor by seasoning the raw chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper, then brown it in a skillet until just golden. This will add flavor to the chicken while also helping to lock in those essential juices that keep chicken moist and tender. Next: the sauce. You can’t go wrong with butter, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese. Then we add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and sundried tomatoes add such amazing flavor and texture. At this point, we’ve almost completed the colors of the Italian flag: red, white, and soon green. Once the chicken and sauce have cooked for two hours, we toss in fresh green spinach. And our Tuscan chicken is just about complete!
We like to serve our Tuscan chicken over spaghetti noodles, which will give the meal a little more heartiness. That rich, creamy sauce blankets the noodles, the chicken is well seasoned and tender, hearty spinach gives the meal a little earthiness, and the burst of flavor from the sundried tomatoes is absolutely delicious. As we enjoy this meal around the dinner table, we start to seriously consider that vacation to Italy and all of the wonderful food we’d be able to enjoy. For now, our dinner plates filled with a warm and rich slow cooker Tuscan chicken will do the trick.
Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken
Serves 4-6 15 minutes active; 2+ hours inactive
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned and browned on both sides
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
- 1/3 cups parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- spaghetti, for serving
- For the alfredo sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then pour in heavy cream.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until starting to thicken, then stir in parmesan cheese and lemon juice, stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
- Stir together sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning together in a medium bowl.
- Place browned chicken breasts in slow cooker, then pour in sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.
- When chicken is cooked through, stir in freshly chopped spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes, then serve hot over spaghetti, with sauce spooned on top.
Recipe adapted from Bunny's Warm Oven.