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Two-Cheese Penne with Chicken and Spinach

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Claire Spollen


Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

To balance out the meal, serve this rich and saucy pasta alongside a crisp romaine salad with bright acidic dressing.


  • 8 ounces uncooked quick-cooking penne (such as Ronzoni)
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 ounces fresh pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (about 1/4 cup)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 436
  • fat 13.5 g
  • satfat 5.1 g
  • monofat 3.9 g
  • polyfat 0.9 g
  • protein 33 g
  • carbohydrate 46 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 75 mg
  • iron 4 mg
  • sodium 526 mg
  • calcium 236 mg

How to Make It

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or just until done. Remove chicken from pan; thinly slice across grain.

  3. Return pan to medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add spinach, red pepper, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until spinach wilts. Add cooked pasta, reserved pasta cooking water, chicken, lemon juice, and cheeses to pan; toss to coat. Cook 1 minute or until cheeses melt. Serve immediately.