Basil Parmesan Pasta with Crispy Chicken, Prosciutto, and Arugula.
This quick Basil Parmesan Pasta with Crispy Chicken, Prosciutto, and Arugula is that bowl of homemade pasta that tastes like you just picked it up at your favorite restaurant. Lightly breaded parmesan chicken pan-fried until golden and crispy. The chicken is served over a big bowl of creamy basil and parmesan pasta. Each bowl is finished with warm prosciutto and lemon tossed arugula. Every bite is layered with creamy basil parmesan sauce, crispy chicken, salty prosciutto, and lemony peppered greens. It’s delicious…especially with an extra sprinkling of parmesan and a squeeze of lemon on top!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this story before, but when I was a kid we would typically have pasta on Friday nights. My dad would make his usual delicious pasta dish. It was a dinner my mom and I looked forward to every weekend. Sometimes he would switch it up and do a pizza. But the pizzas just didn’t quite live up to his Friday Night Pasta Dishes.
Both my mom and I love pasta, so pasta once a week often wasn’t enough. So sometimes on weeknights, my dad would serve use noodles tossed with butter and basil. Simple, but such a good flavor.
Today’s recipe is a much more exciting version but brings back all those childhood memories…so I especially love it.
Funny enough this is yet another pasta dish inspired by the Cheesecake Factory (thanks for your suggestions!), the Bellagio pasta. To refresh your memory, a few weeks ago I shared this southern style creamy parmesan chicken pasta. While I was researching that recipe, I came across a photo of their Bellagio pasta. At the time, I went back and forth about which pasta I should attempt to recreate. In the end, I went with that spicy cajun pasta.
And it was a good idea. That pasta has quickly become everyone’s favorite, and with good reason, it’s delicious. We love a little spicy cajun heat.
BUT this basil parmesan pasta is equally delicious, just very different, probably more Italian-like. This is not quite the same as the Bellagio pasta served up at the Cheesecake Factory. I changed a few things, but it’s similar, and please, please hear me when I say, it’s SO GOOD.
Here are the details…
I like to start with the chicken. Using chicken cutlets or thinly sliced chicken is KEY. You don’t want a cut that’s too thick or it will not evenly cook throughout.
For the breading, I like to use a mix of Panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. It has just the right amount of cheesy crunch.
Once I have the chicken prepped, I boil up the pasta and start working on the sauce.
For the sauce, it’s similar to a fettuccine Alfredo sauce, but different, because of the large amounts of basil. There is A LOT of basil, but it’s what makes this pasta so good. To keep the sauce on the lighter side, I use a mix of chicken broth and cream. It’s a little looser than an Alfredo sauce but still creamy and cheesy enough.
I think of it as a light cream sauce with a touch of decadence.
While the sauce is simmering, pan fry the chicken. I kept the chicken simple but when placed atop the creamy sauce? Beyond good.
Once the sauce has simmered, toss in the pasta. I like to use spaghetti or linguine, but really any cut of pasta will do! And that’s it! Well, actually, first I like to warm a little prosciutto in a skillet and mix up a lemony arugula salad to finish.
Finish it up
Serve the pasta topped with the chicken. Then I like to add warm prosciutto, fresh arugula, and an extra dusting of parmesan…for good measure.
When all combined together, ’tis a very delicious meal.
The pasta is heavy on the basil with just the right amount of creaminess and cheese. The chicken is perfectly crisp, and when tossed with the pasta…totally delish. The prosciutto adds a nice salty element and the arugula on top keeps everything feeling fresh and light for the spring days ahead.
What I love about this recipe is that it really does look and taste like a dish you’d order out from your favorite Italian spot. But it’s all made at home and in under an hour too.
It’s pretty hard to beat. In fact, my mom’s exact words were as follows…
I LOVEE 💕 ❤️ it!
She’s never this enthusiastic about a recipe unless it’s really, really GOOD. So take her word for it and enjoy! Hoping this dish makes for a fun Monday night pasta for you guys! But of course, this dish is still perfect for any night of the week – enjoy!
Looking for other easy dinner recipes? Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Basil Parmesan Pasta with Crispy Chicken, Prosciutto, and Arugula be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Basil Parmesan Pasta with Crispy Chicken, Prosciutto, and Arugula
Homemade pasta that tastes like it came from your favorite Italian restaurant.
- 1 pound chicken cutlets or tenders
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 2 cups baby arugula
- juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the Panko, 1/2 cup parmesan, and the onion powder in a shallow bowl. Dredge both sides of the chicken through the Panko, pressing to adhere by using your fist to really make the crumbs stick. Place the chicken on a plate. Set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
3. To make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic together over medium-high heat. Cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the butter and stir in the basil. Add a pinch each of red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook another minute, until the basil is fragrant, then pour in the broth and cream. Add the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook 5-8 minutes, until thickened slightly.
4. To cook the chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until golden brown on the other side, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and season with salt. Slice into thin strips. Add the prosciutto to the pan and cook 1 minute to warm through.
5. To the sauce, stir in 1 cup parmesan. Toss in the pasta and cook 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
6. Toss the arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Divide the pasta between plates and top with slices of chicken, warm prosciutto, and arugula. Twirl and devour...with bread on the side.
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