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Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken

Hello and welcome to Sunday Supper on Djalali Cooks. Since making Pasta Carbonara with Roasted Tomatoes and Crispy Prosciutto a couple weeks ago, I was curious how well the method of making a sauce with eggs, Parmesan and pasta water would work with a tubular pasta, leftover rotisserie chicken and spinach. I think it worked out quite well, though the vigorous stirring of the pasta was a little adventurous with the large Rigatoni I used. Regardless, this was an easy, quick way to use up leftover chicken and some use-it-or-lose-it spinach. Let’s get right to it!

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First, get a pot with about 2 quarts of water going over high heat. Since I am using up leftovers, I am cutting this recipe in half, essentially. Using only 8-9 ounces of pasta; about 1.5 cups of chicken and a handful of spinach. For the sauce, I am using only 2 eggs and about 3/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan.

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Quick Prep

We can prep everything and whisk together the eggs and cheese in a large bowl while we wait for the water to boil. Once the water is boiling, season the water with about 1-1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt. Then add the pasta to the water. Set the timer for 8-9 minutes for al dente. While we wait for the pasta to cook, heat the chicken in the microwave until very hot.

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, scoop out 1.5 cups of water from the pot and set aside. Drain the pasta and then pour the pasta into the bowl with the egg and cheese mixture. Drizzle on a little olive oil. Then, vigorously stir the hot pasta in the egg and cheese mixture to melt the cheese; creating a thick, glossy sauce that coats the pasta. Add hot pasta water as needed to keep the sauce glossy and loose.

Add the reheated chicken to the pasta and continue stirring to coat the chicken in the sauce and mix well with the pasta. Keep adding more pasta water as needed to keep everything loose and coated in the sauce. Toss in a handful of fresh spinach and mix well to combine and wilt the spinach in the hot pasta, chicken and sauce.

Season with a pinch of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, stir and we are ready to serve.

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Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken

Scoop the Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken into bowls and top with Parmesan. Add more fresh black pepper and a small pinch of flaky sea salt, if you like and that’s it!

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This is a quick and easy way to turn some leftover chicken into a totally different dish. Since we seasoned the pasta so well and the leftover chicken is likely already seasoned, this is a great time to practice tasting as you go to avoid over seasoning. Be sure to reheat the chicken really well. Adding cold or lukewarm chicken to the pasta and sauce will prevent the cheese from melting and the sauce will not thicken well.

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Today’s recipe for Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken is just a quick idea for turning leftovers into something exciting and different. I hope you think of it next time you have some leftover chicken. Thanks so much for being here today. Take care and be well! xo Kelly

Key Equipment

Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken

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Dinner, Main Course Italian
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: ~10 Minutes Total Time: ~25 Minutes

We use the Pasta Carbonara method of creating a sauce from eggs and Parmesan to sauce up Rigatoni with leftover chicken and spinach.

Ingredients

  • 8-9 oz. Tubular Pasta, like Rigatoni or Penne
  • 1.5 tbsp. Kosher Salt, for the pasta water, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping portions
  • Drizzle Olive Oil
  • 1.5-2 cups Shredded Chicken, reheated in the microwave until very hot
  • Handful Fresh Spinach
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Flaky Sea Salt

Instructions

1

Get a pot with about 2 quarts of water going over high heat.

2

Whisk together the eggs and cheese in a large bowl. Set Aside.

3

Once the water is boiling, season the water with about 1-1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt.

4

Add the pasta to the water. Set the timer for 8-9 minutes for al dente.

5

While we wait for the pasta to cook, heat the chicken in the microwave until very hot.

6

Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, scoop out 1.5 cups of water from the pot and set aside. Drain the pasta and then pour the pasta into the bowl with the egg and cheese mixture.

7

Drizzle on a little olive oil. Then, vigorously stir the hot pasta in the egg and cheese mixture to melt the cheese; creating a thick, glossy sauce that coats the pasta.

8

Add hot pasta water as needed to keep the sauce glossy and loose.

9

Add the reheated chicken to the pasta and continue stirring to coat the chicken in the sauce and mix well with the pasta.

10

Keep adding more pasta water as needed to keep everything loose and coated in the sauce. Toss in a handful of fresh spinach and mix well to combine and wilt the spinach in the hot pasta, chicken and sauce.

11

Season with a pinch of kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes, stir and we are ready to serve.

12

Scoop the Carbonara-Style Pasta with Chicken into bowls and top with Parmesan. Add more fresh black pepper and a small pinch of flaky sea salt, if you like and that's it!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Mari
    September 11, 2022 at 9:05 am

    This is a great meal for a rainy, gloomy day. Like today! It is cooling off, which means temperatures in the 70’s instead of the 90’s. Yesterday I noticed the leaves were falling from the trees, and some were actually brown. While it isn’t cold here, there is a nice breeze, which makes it perfect weather for something a little more substantial. I seem to always buy penne, and there is always chicken in the freezer, so this is going to be on the table tonight, and thank you. There are some days when I don’t want to think about cooking, but thanks to you, I don’t have to. I just have to do it! Have a wonderful Sunday, and I hope you have some sunshine. Of course you do have Alex Terry and the pups, and that’s enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. 😊🐕

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 11, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      I hope you enjoy this one, Mari! I am so glad to inspire your dinner ideas! Have a great Sunday, xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Terry
    September 11, 2022 at 9:40 am

    This looks really good I’ll have to give this a shot.. I’ll keep you posted ❤️🤗mom

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 11, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      Hey mom, It’s quick and easy…a good weeknight dinner xo Kelly

  • Reply
    Brenda Murphrey
    September 11, 2022 at 10:49 am

    I’m concerned about eating this with raw eggs. Have I missed something in this recipe? It sounds delicious.
    Love your recipes.

    • Reply
      Kelly Djalali
      September 11, 2022 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Brenda, You haven’t missed anything. The eggs are warmed to a safe (pasteurization) temperature (140 degrees F.) by the hot pasta and hot pasta water. Not only that, but eggs you buy at the supermarket are pasteurized, which means they have been quickly heated to 140°F to kill bacteria before they even reach the supermarket. If you are using eggs from your own hens, you can easily pasteurize the eggs before cooking with them at home.
      Simply fill a large saucepan with water. Use a digital thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water and bring the water to 140°F. Add the eggs to the saucepan and maintain a steady temperature of 140 degrees, adjust the burner as needed. Allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 3 minutes, then rinse the eggs with cold water to stop the heating. Hope that helps and allays any worry you might have about eating undercooked eggs! xo Kelly

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