Traditional Chicken Florentine can be heavy, with lots of cream and cheese and bread crumbs, but here’s a light, quick, gluten-free version that can feed a crowd. Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne with Golden Milled Flax Seed makes a tender, wholesome backdrop to tender browned chicken, bright cherry tomatoes, salty and savory Pecorino Romano cheese, and velvety wilted spinach.
When I was just learning to live on my own and cook for myself, my dinner was usually some quick combination of meat, veggies and pasta all thrown together in a pan, like this recipe; more or less an Italian stir-fry. It was quick, and since my parents were always sure to send me home after a visit with a trunk full of pasta, it had the appeal of being wholesome, quick, AND cheap. I like to think my recipes are a little more impressive now(I don’t use salad dressing for sauces, I can deglaze a pan and make a sauce now) but there’s something to be said for having a few simple recipes like this up your sleeve.
First, get a pot of water boiling and cook the pasta according to package directions.
When finished, drain the pasta and keep it warm by returning it to the covered pot until you need it.
Meanwhile, in a single layer of the pan, brown the bite-sized pieces of chicken on one side, then flip and cook until completely browned and cooked through.
Remove the cooked chicken from the pan to make way for the next step, which is to sizzle up some minced garlic in the same oil, and then quickly deglaze the pan with white wine. (You can substitute chicken or vegetable broth for wine if desired.) Simmer the wine mixture until it’s reduced to about 2-3 tablespoons, and becomes a delicious, concentrated sauce infused with the flavors of garlic and browned chicken.
That’s all there is to the sauce. Now add the chicken, tomatoes, spinach, Pecorino Romano cheese and cooked penne, and stir to warm it up. The spinach will wilt and the cheese will melt just a little, and then it’s ready to serve!
Drizzle with a little olive oil and add fresh basil and Pecorino shavings to the top. Taste before seasoning further because the Pecorino, while delicious, tends to be a little salty.
Here are my leftovers, all bundled up for lunches for the next few days – hurray! It feels great knowing I can relax because I’ve stocked my fridge with some healthy meals.
For another quick weeknight dinner with gluten free pasta, you can try my Gluten Free Liguine with Artichokes, Sundried Tomatoes and Arugula.
Gluten Free Chicken Florentine Pasta Toss
- 1 lb Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Brown Rice Penne (1 box)
- 1 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast or thighs cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 packed cups baby spinach, torn
- 4 oz hard cheese, grated, such as Pecorino Romano
- 3/4 cup white wine
- Fresh basil leaves, chopped
- More grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water. Drain (rinsing is not necessary), return to pot and cover to keep warm.
Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Oil should be heated until it sizzles when a drop of water hits it so that chicken will brown properly.
When oil is heated, add chicken pieces to the pan in a single layer. Do not stir; cook 2-3 minutes until completely browned on one side. Then turn the pieces over for another 2-3 minutes. Cook through completely, and then remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving oil and butter. Cover chicken and keep warm.
Keep the same pan on the burner, and turn down the heat to medium low. Add minced garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring until lightly browned and fragrant. Add white wine. Cook until the sauce is reduced to about 2-3 tablespoons and entire surface of liquid is bubbling.This will take about 5-7 minutes.
Return cooked chicken to pan. Add tomatoes, spinach, and 4 ounces grated cheese then stir to warm everything and coat with sauce.Turn off heat, add pasta and stir.
Serve immediately, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of extra cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Original recipe by Erin
You can find this and and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.