Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken
This Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken is creamy, cheesy comfort food that comes together with ease. The lemon gives it a bright fresh flavor which pairs beautifully with the Ricotta and Parmesan, and sauteed garlic and fresh wilted spinach are the perfect complements. This dish also features tasty seasoned chicken and linguine, though you can substitute other long noodles like fettucine or spaghetti if that’s what you have on hand. If you love pasta in a rich, creamy sauce, loaded with chicken and spinach (and who doesn’t?) then this one’s for you! Better yet, a serving is just 354 calories or 8 Green, 7 Blue, or 3 Purple WW (Weight Watchers) SmartPoints.
I adapted this recipe from a NY Times Recipe called “Creamed Spinach Pasta,” but I decided to change the title (along with several ingredients) because I thought Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken was a better description of my finished dish. The recipe does feature a lot of spinach in a cream sauce, but ricotta cheese doesn’t make me think of creamed spinach. Plus, I added chicken and lemon and made some other changes, so I think the new name suits it better.
When I measured the finished recipe I got just under 7 cups, so I decided to list the serving size as six (1 rounded cup) servings. I figured I’d be clear about that in case you’re wondering how rounded that cup should be!
Looking for more tasty, lightened up pasta dishes like this Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken? Check out my One-Pot Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese, One-Pot Creamy Chicken Piccata Pasta, One-Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta with Chicken and Spinach, One-Pot Cheesy Chili Mac, One-Pot Turkey and Veggie Spaghetti, One-Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta, Bruschetta Chicken Pasta, One-Pot Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta, Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, Turkey Sloppy Joe Pasta, Chicken Pot Pasta, Sausage Ricotta Pasta, Lemon Chicken Orzo with Tomatoes and Asparagus, and many more in the Pasta section of my recipe index!
Ricotta and Spinach Pasta with Chicken
- 8 oz dry linguine, (use whole wheat linguine if following the WW Purple plan)
- 1 lb raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ + 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup fat free half-and-half
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup fat free ricotta
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (I use a box grater)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Cook the linguine according to package instructions and drain.
- While waiting for the water to boil, season the chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and the ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder. Drizzle one tablespoon of the oil into a large sauté pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and browned, 6-8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a side plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the sauté pan and bring over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant and starting to turn golden. Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until it wilts and adding more until it’s all wilted (about 4 minutes). Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir.
- Add the half-and-half to the pan and increase to medium heat to bring to a simmer. Cook for another two minutes until the cream thickens slightly. Stir in the nutmeg, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the cooked and drained pasta into the sauté pan and stir together with the spinach and sauce.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the reserved chicken and stir to combine.
9 per (1 rounded cup) serving (PP calculated using a Weight Watchers PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition info below) Nutrition Information per (1 rounded cup) serving: 354 calories, 38 g carbs, 6 g sugars, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 3 g fiber, 250 mg sodium (from myfitnesspal.com) Adapted from the NY Times