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Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce

January 20, 2011

By Kath Dedon


Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce is adapted from a recipe in Sunset’s Fresh Ways with Chicken. The book has a whole chapter called “Versatile Cooked Poultry”; I find it’s a great resource when I have leftover cooked chicken or turkey.

Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce uses just one cup of cooked chicken to make a one-dish meal that serves 4. Although the cookbook is 25 years old, this recipe is in line with today’s trend to use less meat, less pasta, and more vegetables for healthier meals. I’ve made it for years because it just tastes good!


Pasta with Mediterranean Chicken Sauce

(Adapted from a recipe in Sunset’s Fresh Way with Chicken)


The pine nuts add a special touch to the recipe, but you could omit them if you don’t have any. Be sure to store any leftover pine nuts wrapped well in the freezer.


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts

1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups chopped onions)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1½ teaspoons dry basil

1½ teaspoons dry oregano

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into 1/8-inch slices

½ pound mushrooms, sliced

6 ounces tomatoes, diced (2 medium or 4 small)

1 cup shredded cooked chicken (about 5 ounces) or cooked turkey

8 ounces pasta (I used penne)

Parmesan or Pecorino Romano for serving



1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

2. Chop or slice all of the vegetables so they are ready to go (mise en place).

zucchini and mushrooms

Pine nuts

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute or until they are lightly toasted. Remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.

4. When the water is boiling, add a large spoonful of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions. (My penne took 11 minutes.)

5. After putting the pasta in the water, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is soft.


6. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes to the pan. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.


7. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook for about 1 more minute.

8. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Stir to mix.

9. Serve, topping each serving with some of the pine nuts.

10. Pass Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese at the table.

Pasta before adding the pine nuts and grated cheese:

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 4:18 pm

    Light and flavorful – need to make more dinners like this.

    • January 20, 2011 5:00 pm

      Thanks, Belinda! It’s nice to eat lighter fare after the holidays, isn’t it?

  2. January 21, 2011 5:34 am

    Sometimes our tried and true recipes are the best, right? My husband had bypass surgery, and was told to eat a “Mediterranean diet”, more fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and olive oil. Your recipe is exactly the Mediterranean diet, minus the cheese:)

  3. January 21, 2011 5:35 am

    Sometimes our tried and true recipes are the best, right? My husband had bypass surgery, and was told to eat a “Mediterranean diet”, more fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and olive oil. Your recipe is exactlythat diet, minus the cheese:)

    • January 25, 2011 5:03 pm

      The Mediterranean diet is a great way for all of us to eat. I hope your husband is doing well, Becky!

  4. January 21, 2011 6:14 am

    That is my kind of meal. I love the crunch of the pine nuts with all of those lovely vegetables.

  5. January 21, 2011 7:00 am

    Tasty sounding. I am wondering how to blend these flavors for a soup.

    • January 25, 2011 5:11 pm

      That’s an interesting idea, Eliot. You could play around with it.

      I might saute the vegetables as I did in the recipe, and then add some broth…maybe 2 cans of good chicken broth or the equivalent of homemade. I’d use less pasta – maybe about 4 ounces of pasta or noodles. Add them to the soup and cook until they’re done. Add the cooked chicken just before serving so it has a chance to warm up without overcooking. Garnish with the pine nuts.

  6. January 21, 2011 8:57 am

    This sounds great! I made a Mediterranean pasta with chicken last night, but I love this version with the zucchini and mushrooms! Sounds great.

  7. January 21, 2011 9:08 am

    This is a lovely pasta dish. Your recipe and the photos detailing steps in its preparation are terrific. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  8. January 21, 2011 3:49 pm

    Excellent dish! I love that you can have your pasta and a bit of meat , but get the better quantity of vegetables to really pack the nutritional punch…

  9. January 21, 2011 10:12 pm

    Don’t you love recipes like these? I’m trying to find more that incorporate just a bit of meat and instead rely on veggies for bulk. I love the addition of pine nuts too! Thank you for sharing yet another delicious recipe. I hope you have a wonderful weekend…enjoy yourself and eat well!

  10. January 22, 2011 9:31 am

    Beautiful dish. I love the mix of veggies and the hint of red pepper….I’d have to struggle not to be a little too free with the red pepper flakes. Hot food addiction. 😉

  11. February 1, 2011 12:19 pm

    These are some of my favorite things all on one plate. Pinenuts are absolutely delicious. They add so much for such a little thing!


  1. Ideas for Leftover Turkey | In the kitchen with Kath

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