Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Italian-inspired dinner with the best homemade creamy pasta sauce! The sun-dried tomato pasta sauce is made from scratch using basil, red pepper flakes, garlic, paprika, cream, and shredded Mozzarella cheese.
I am a huge fan of pasta, and some of the most popular pasta recipes on this site include this chicken mozzarella pasta that you are reading right now, creamy chicken pasta with bacon, and pesto chicken pasta. One thing all these pasta recipes have in common is that they use creamy, comforting sauces.
If you want to try chicken pasta that is more refreshing, without the creamy sauce, I whole-heartedly recommend family favorite chicken pasta with spinach and tomatoes or super flavorful Italian sausage pasta.
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken
This recipe features sun-dried tomatoes and basil. Both ingredients are popular in Italy and in the Mediterranean region.
The most prominent flavor in this recipe is the homemade sun-dried tomato sauce. The sauce is made from scratch by combining cream with shredded Mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes.
Cooked chicken and penne pasta are then smothered in this delicious creamy Mozzarella pasta sauce. There is enough sauce to coat every single bite.
Ingredients for sun-dried tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup half-and-half (or ½ cup heavy cream + ½ cup milk)
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
How to make sun-dried tomato sauce
In a large skillet, cook 3 cloves of minced garlic and 4 oz of chopped sun-dried tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on high-medium heat for about 1 minute.
Add ½ cup of heavy cream + ½ cup of milk (or 1 cup of half-and-half) to the same skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
Add 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese.
Simmer and stir until the cheese melts and forms a creamy pasta sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of dried basil, paprika, and at least ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
Season with about ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Use either sun-dried tomatoes without oil or sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar). Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them.
Sprinkle a small amount of paprika over the chicken before cooking – it adds flavor as well as the color to the dish.
Make sure to reserve some pasta water as you will DEFINITELY need it to thin out the cream sauce.
Feel free to increase the amount of spices for this recipe: basil, red pepper flakes, paprika. This will make the sun-dried tomato sauce even more flavorful!
Make sure to season the chicken mozzarella pasta with just the right amount of salt. That means you might have to add more salt. Salt will enhance the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
How to Make Chicken Mozzarella Pasta
1) In a large skillet, on medium heat sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in the olive oil. Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet.
2) Season sliced chicken with salt and paprika.
3) Add the chicken to the skillet and cook on high heat.
4) Add back the sun-dried tomatoes. Add half-and-half and shredded Mozzarella cheese.
5) Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce to simmer and stir the sun-dried tomato sauce until the cheese melts.
6) Add spices: basil, crushed red pepper flakes, salt.
7) Add cooked and drained penne pasta and stir to combine.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken and Creamy Mozzarella Sauce
This easy Italian-inspired Chicken Mozzarella Pasta features sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, and paprika. The sun-dried tomato sauce is the star of this recipe!
PREP TIME 20minutes mins
COOK TIME 20minutes mins
TOTAL TIME 40minutes mins
COURSE Main Course
CUISINE American, Italian
SERVINGS 4 servings
CALORIES PER SERVING 641 kcal
3 garlic cloves , minced
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb chicken breast tenderloins , sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 cup half and half (or use ½ cup heavy cream + ½ cup milk)
1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella, use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free, use gluten free brown rice pasta)
1 tablespoon basil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup reserved cooked pasta water or more
¼ teaspoon salt to taste
In a large skillet, sauté garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar) for 1 minute on medium heat until the garlic is fragrant.
Remove the sun-dried tomatoes from the skillet, leaving the olive oil.
Add sliced chicken (salted and lightly covered in paprika for color) and cook on high heat for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.
Slice sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces and add them back to the skillet with chicken.
To make creamy pasta sauce, add half-and-half (see substitution for half-and-half in the Recipe Notes section below) and Mozzarella cheese to the skillet, and bring to a gentle boil.
Immediately reduce to simmer and cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and creamy sauce forms.
Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the cream sauce, and stir to combine.
Add 1 tablespoon of basil, and at least ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.
If the creamy sauce is too thick: Add about ½ cup of reserved cooked pasta water to the skillet to thin it out. Do not add all of pasta water at once – you might need less or more of it.
Season the chicken pasta with salt and more red pepper flakes, to taste, if needed. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
What is half-and-half? Substitute ½ cup of milk + ½ cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.
If using sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained olive oil.
Do not use fresh Mozzarella. Fresh Mozzarella is usually sold as a large ball or small balls in a brine or water solution. Do not shred fresh Mozzarella. Use pre-shredded Mozzarella cheese sold in bags.