This creamy chicken leek and mushroom pasta recipe with spinach is ready in just 30 minutes. It's a great one pot dish, perfect for autumn and winter when leeks and mushrooms are in season and we need some good comfort food on colder days. Leeks and mushrooms go very well together and spinach adds some nice colour.
Using Leftover Chicken
A mushroom and chicken pasta recipe is great for using up leftover chicken, particularly from a roast. If you don't have very much chicken leftover, just increase the amount of mushrooms and leeks and you still have a delicious creamy pasta dish. You could also add in some bacon or ham if you need to. Instead of chicken, this is also a great recipe for using up leftover turkey so could make an easy boxing day dinner idea. If you're looking for more recipes to use up leftover chicken, you might also like these recipe ideas.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Pasta. You can use any pasta or noodle shapes or even long pasta such as tagliatelle, spaghetti or linguine. I've used fusilli pasta shapes as the sauce sticks to the swirls nicely. Once you've cooked your pasta, keep back a cup of the pasta water. This can be used to loosen up the sauce at the end of cooking. The pasta water contains some startch from the pasta so is more effective than just adding boiling water.
Mushrooms. Any type of mushrooms will work in this dish. When preparing the mushrooms, just wipe the tops clean. Don't soak them in water or this will alter their texture. You don't need to peel them. Slice them length ways and include the stem.
White Button Mushrooms or Closed Cup are the most common mushrooms available. These have a mild flavour. Chestnut mushrooms are browner in colour and have a stronger 'nutty' flavour. Portobello mushrooms are large chestnut mushrooms with dark brown fleshy gills under the cap. They have a meaty texture and a smokey earthy flavour. Shiitake mushrooms have dark brown tops, thinner stems and a rich savoury taste.
White Wine. Make sure the wine is dry and not sweet. Adding a little white wine adds flavour to the sauce. If you prefer not to use wine, just leave it out and increase the amount of chicken stock by the amount of white wine.
Cream. I've used single cream in this recipe but you could also use a heavier cream if you like. You may need to add more pasta water at the end of the cooking time if the sauce is too thick.
Parmesan Cheese. Adding parmesan helps to thicken the sauce and also brings great flavour. Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano is a hard strong flavoured Italian cheese. You could also use Grano Padano which is similar and usually slightly cheaper. The important thing is to buy a block and grate it yourself. Pre-grated parmesan cheeses are often low quality and contain cornstarch which means they won't melt very easily and can stay lumpy in your sauce. Parmesan also adds salt to your dish so only add salt after you've added the parmesan if you need to.
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How to make it
- Put the pasta on to cook as per the packet instructions. Once cooked drain the pasta but keep a cupful of the pasta water to one side. We will use this to loosen the sauce at the end if needed.
- Add the oil to the pan over a medium heat and stir fry the diced chicken for 5 - 8 minutes until cooked. To check if the chicken is properly cooked, cut open a larger piece and check there is no pink in the middle. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it to one side.
- Add the butter to the pan and when it is bubbling, add the sliced mushrooms. Spread them out and fry for 2 -3 minutes turning occasionally. Try not to move them around too much as we want to fry them not steam them.
- Now add the leek and the garlic and fry for a further 2 -3 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine and let it reduce for about 1 minute. Add the stock and stir.
- Pour in the cream and stir until the sauce has thickened. This will take a few minutes.
- Stir through the spinach leaves until wilted. This will take about 1 minute.
- Now stir in the parmesan cheese and season with pepper. The parmesan is already quite salty so you probably won't need to add any more salt.
- Add the cooked chicken and pasta and stir everything together until it is well covered by the sauce. If you are using leftover chicken, stir it together until the chicken is properly heated through. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
- Serve with the fresh parsley sprinkled over the top and a little extra parmesan.
This is a great recipe for using up leftover chicken and so helps reduce food waste. Leeks and mushrooms are in season in autumn and winter and you may be able to buy produce that has been grown locally. You can now buy Fairtrade wine so look for the fairtrade label.
Because of the cream, this dish doesn't freeze well but you can store it in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
Reheating creamy pasta
The best way to reheat a creamy pasta dish is on the hob or stove top rather than a microwave. Once cold, the sauce will thicken slightly so you may need to add a little milk to loosen it and bring back the creamy teaxture. Reheat over a medium heat and keep stirring so it doesn't stick. Chicken should be piping hot when reheated. Remember that you can only reheat meat once. You can also eat this cold and leftovers are great for an easy lunch the next day.
Creamy Chicken Leek and Mushroom Pasta
- 350 g pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil Fairtrade
- 400 g diced chicken Organic, free rane
- 25 g butter organic
- 300 g mushrooms sliced
- 500 g leek or 1 large leek diced
- 1 clove garlic peeled & crushed
- 60 ml dry white wine Fairtrade
- 125 ml chicken stock organic
- 300 ml single cream organic
- 60 g parmesan cheese finely grated
- 100 g spinach organic
- 1 dash black pepper fairtrade
- 4 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
- Put the pasta on to cook as per the packet instructions. Once cooked drain the pasta but keep a cupful of the pasta water.350 g pasta
- Add the oil to the pan over a medium heat and stir fry the diced chicken for 5 - 8 minutes until cooked. Remove from the pan and set to one side.1 tablespoon olive oil, 400 g diced chicken
- Add the butter to the pan and when it is bubbling, add the sliced mushrooms. Spread them out and fry for 2 -3 minutes turning occasionally. Try not to move them around too much25 g butter, 300 g mushrooms
- Add the leek and garlic and fry for a further 2 -3 minutes.500 g leek or 1 large leek, 1 clove garlic
- Pour in the white wine and let it reduce for 1 minute. Add the stock and stir60 ml dry white wine, 125 ml chicken stock
- Pour in the cream and stir until the sauce has thickened300 ml single cream
- Stir in the spinach leaves until wilted. This will take about 1 minute100 g spinach
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper60 g parmesan cheese, 1 dash black pepper
- Stir in the cooked chicken and pasta until covered by the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
- Serve with the fresh parsley sprinkled over the top4 tablespoon fresh parsley
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.