Pictured: Pad Kee Mao (Spicy Ground Chicken and Rice Noodles) recipe from CHOW
Like eating dessert before dinner and double dipping when no one’s watching, some food rules are just a lot more fun when they’re broken. I’m not sure who came up with the one about never pairing chicken with pasta, but I’d be willing to ruffle a few Italians’ feathers for the sake of getting my fix of chicken alfredo, buffalo chicken mac and cheese, and more dishes that literally flip the bird at tradition. It’s time to finally recognize chicken and pasta as the ideal supporting players to a wide array of flavor-filled sauces and other accompaniments. These 13 recipes will convince you that pairing your white meat with your white sauce (and more) ain’t such a crazed idea after all.
1. Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli
Creamy sauce? Check. Bright green broccoli florets? Check. Savory nubs of chicken sausage? Check. Here is a recipe that hits all the marks for easy weeknight cooking. Get our Creamy Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli recipe.
2. Pasta with Roasted Chicken, Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Parsley
When roasting chicken, hold on to the drippings—they’re loaded with flavor. In this dish, they are tossed with spaghetti, creating a rich, lip-coating dressing. Get our Pasta with Roasted Chicken, Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Parsley recipe.
3. Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons
Classic chicken alfredo may be the epitome of cheesy, rib-sticking goodness, but that doesn’t mean that adding a few veggies will break its mojo. Here, ribbons of zucchini help provide a welcome splash of green. Get the recipe here.
4. Spinach Pesto Pasta with Chicken
Pesto is the obvious choice for what to make when you’ve got an excess of leafy herbs or greens on your hands. Leftover roast chicken is one of those ingredients that’s down for pretty much anything. Toss the two together with some pasta, and voila: you’ve got an instantaneous meal made from the extras. Get the recipe here.
5. Farro Pasta with Chicken Scarti and Borlotti Bean
Many chicken and pasta dishes veer toward the familiar and comforting. This one is anything but, venturing fearlessly into bold territory. Here, earthy farro pasta meets a stew-y concoction that features both tender chicken thighs and fortifying livers, for a hearty feast to satisfy your inner adventurer. Get the recipe here.
6. Poached Chicken and Pomegranate Orzo
Chicken and pasta that’s…fruity? Bright and crunchy pomegranate seeds and a tangy-sweet dressing prove that the two can take on unexpected guises in this recipe. Get our Poached Chicken and Pomegranate Orzo recipe.
7. Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Two titans collide in this mega mash up of buffalo chicken and mac and cheese. Game day get-togethers, potlucks with friends, and weekend barbecues will never quite be the same after this one. Get the recipe here.
8. Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites
If you ever wanted to cradle all of the goodness of mac and cheese in your hands, this is your chance. Studded with bits of chopped chicken, these muffin tin bites are a delight to pop. Get our Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe.
9. Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Even chicken can get in on the hearty ragu action. Coated in a thick tomato sauce and woven with penne and a good helping of cheese, this sausage-based dish is baked in the oven for an extra crispy finish. Get the recipe here.
10. Creamy Rigatoni with Chicken and Mushrooms
Built upon a silky and rich white wine cream sauce, this rigatoni recipe is ideal for a date night dinner or classy meal with friends. Get our Creamy Rigatoni with Chicken and Mushrooms recipe.
11. BBQ Chicken and Macaroni Salad
Forget those fuddy-duddy macaroni salads of yore: in this recipe, tangy barbecue sauce and chunky chicken lend macaroni salad a bit of sass and zest. Get the recipe here.
12. Slow Cooker Burmese Chicken and Noodles
The chicken and noodle action doesn’t have to stop at the familiar dairy or tomato based sauces. This southeast Asian-inspired recipe introduces coconut, spices, and lime into the mix. Get our Slow Cooker Burmese Chicken and Noodles recipe.
13. Easy Chicken Noodle Soup from a Leftover Roasted Chicken
Lastly, when life hands you chickens, make soup. This rainy day favorite makes use of all of the bits from the leftover roast, giving you a sturdy broth and shreds of meat all in one. Get our Easy Chicken Noodle Soup from a Leftover Roasted Chicken recipe.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.