Parmesan Chicken Pasta is cavatappi pasta topped with savory marinara sauce, a generous amount of cheese, and crispy chicken cutlets. It will definitely be a favorite for anyone craving an Italian-inspired dish! You will also love my Crispy Chicken Parmesan!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Pasta: I love cavatappi pasta for recipes like this. It is corkscrew-shaped pasta, perfect for trapping the flavors of the sauce. You could also use pasta you have on hand or make your own homemade-shaped pasta!
Chicken: This recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts. I cut the chicken into four cutlets, making them as close in size as possible for even cooking. And, you can even cook the chicken in an air fryer if preferred.
Panko: Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb that is lighter and will stay crispier longer. Look for panko in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store. Substituting regular breadcrumbs will result in a different (not as crispy) texture.
Pasta Sauce: The sauce is a well-balanced tomato-based sauce with a touch of spiciness and Italian flavors. I recommend using homemade marinara sauce, but a jar of store-bought would also work.
Cheese: Both parmesan and mozzarella cheese are added to the pasta and sauce mixture before being broiled and melted. Have some extra parmesan cheese around to sprinkle on top of the dish.
Can I Make This Without Chicken?
Sure! Leaving out the chicken will result in a vegetarian version of the dish, and you’ll still have a flavorful and comforting pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce and cheesy goodness. Try adding fried eggplant or zucchini for other delicious options!
Can I Make Parmesan Chicken Pasta Ahead Of Time?
To save time, you could get the pasta sauce made in advance. Once made, let it cool to room temperature. Then, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to make the dish, let the sauce come to room temperature before heating it up in an oven-safe skillet and continuing with the other parts of the recipe. When made ahead of time, the flavors of the sauce will have had time to develop and become even more delicious, making your chicken parmesan pasta even better!
How To Store Chicken Chicken Pasta
Once cooled to room temperature, store chicken parmesan pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or in the oven.
Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- 8 ounces cavatappi pasta
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 ½ pounds) sliced in half horizontally to make 4 thin chicken cutlets
- ½ cup (62.5 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
- 1 ½ cups (150 g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 cup (108 g) plain panko breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ cups (150 g) parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 cup (113 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
- chopped parsley, for garnish
- shredded parmesan, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Set pasta and pasta water aside.
- Set out three medium bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- To the second bowl, add the beaten eggs.
- In the third bowl, combine the parmesan cheese and the panko breadcrumbs.
- Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge it in the flour mixture, coating all sides. Tap off any excess flour and dip the chicken into the beaten eggs. Then, coat it with the Parmesan mixture, ensuring all sides are evenly coated. Place the coated chicken onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken cutlets.
- To a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil.* Once hot, add the chicken cutlets and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F. (Depending on the size of the chicken, you may have to work in batches.) Remove the cooked chicken from the pan, place it on a clean plate, and tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
- Carefully wipe out the skillet. Then heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add the marinara, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Add the cooked pasta. Stir to combine. (Add pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.)
- Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully, until the cheese has melted.
- Slice the chicken into strips and place them on top of the pasta dish. Garnish with chopped parsley and shredded parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
- Follow the instructions for preparing the chicken, then place the cutlets into the basket of your air fryer. (Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may have to work in batches.)
- Cook for 8 minutes at 400°F, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
- Place the air-fried chicken onto a plate, tenting to keep warm as you continue with the rest of the recipe.
Did you make this recipe?
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
If you are looking for an easy weeknight meal, look no further! Crispy parmesan chicken, on a bed of cheesy pasta, what more can you ask for!?
What a comforting and flavorful meal! I loved the chicken flavor, and as I have mentioned before, I LOVE pasta, so I had seconds of this dish.
This was very yummy. The parmesan-crusted chicken was delicious over the pasta with all the cheese. You can't go wrong!
This is perfect. I love parmesan so I was enjoying every last bit of this. The parmesan-crusted chicken is already a star on its own. A bit crunchy and of course, cheesy! As a pasta, it is even better with noodles and sauce! So good.
I love breaded chicken, and it is so yummy next to a pasta dish that comes together very easily!