Pan-seared chicken covered in creamy, garlicky sauce and spinach, served over pasta with fresh tomatoes makes for a delicious meal that will have you going back for seconds!
I first made this recipe back in 2011, not long after I had started writing this blog. I found the recipe on my dear friend Sarah’s blog – where I found so many other recipes, as well – and had made it a couple of times before that blog post was ever written.
Chicken is so versatile as it is, but when you cover it in a creamy, garlicky sauce, mix in some spinach and then put it all over pasta and top it with some fresh-cut tomatoes…well…there’s just not much that can beat that. The sauce is amazing. It was in 2011 and it still is in 2017. And while (most) things are usually better when first cooked, this is still amazing if reheated for leftovers. The sauce, y’all…I’m serious. But hey, how could it not be amazing with 4 bulbs of roasted garlic in it??? That’s right. I said FOUR.
But don’t worry. It’s not so garlicky that you’ll ward off any vampires that might be lurking around. It doesn’t leave you with garlic breath or the need to brush your teeth twenty times or down a package of mints. There is just enough garlic flavor infused in every saucy bite to make you ooh and aah about how good it is. Because it is that good.
And don’t be thrown off by the prep time – that’s the time to roast the garlic, and it is well worth that extra time. Besides, you can use that time to catch up on a show or prep the chicken. Or, take a little cat-nap. If you’re into that sorta thing. Me? I’m not much on napping, which one might think would change after having a baby, but no. Still hate naps. I wake up crankier than I may have been before the nap, if you can imagine that! Just ask J, I’m sure he’d be quick to tell you napping is no good for this mama. This saucy garlic chicken, however, is very good. Very good, indeed.
- 4 whole garlic bulbs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 9 oz pkg fresh baby spinach
- 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper, divided
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 6 Tbsp butter, cubed
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 8-12 oz Hot cooked pasta (I used bowtie), (amount depends on how much pasta your family likes!)
- Chopped tomato and minced fresh parsley, optional for topping
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut tops off of garlic bulbs and brush or drizzle bulbs with oil (about a tablespoon total for all 4). Wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until softened. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before handling.
Meanwhile, spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and cover the bottom with spinach. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper, and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken for 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Place chicken pieces in the baking dish on top of the spinach.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Once melted, stir in flour until smooth. Slowly add milk, while stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil, cooking and stirring for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in 2 cups of the Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and remaining salt and pepper. Transfer to a blender; squeeze softened garlic into blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour mixture over chicken.
Carefully pour the mixture into a blender and squeeze the contents of each roasted garlic bulb in with it. (If you have never done this before you just open up the foil, turn it upside down over the blender and squeeze...the squishy, roasted garlic will come right out and you will be left with the skin and foil, which you can discard.) Place the cover on the blender and process until smooth. pour the mixture over the chicken and spinach.
Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly. Serve with pasta, and top with chopped tomatoes and parsley, if you like.
Source: A Taste of Home Cooking