Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce

chicken farfalle w sundried tomato mushroom garlic cream sauce

Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Sauce

The inspiration for my Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce was my Grandmother (of course!) Years and years ago, when Grandma was still able to get around, she lived on her own in an adorable apartment in a senior living complex and I would come and visit her and take her to lunch and to run errands. She loved going to the mall (she used Estee Lauder skincare products for as long as I can remember and I would take her to the department store where she knew all of the ladies at the Estee Lauder counter and they would come out from behind the counter and hug her and kiss her.) She was such a little super star and everyone loved her so much!

Whenever I’d come visit, I would always ask her where she wanted to go to lunch and every time, she would say, “wherever you want to go, sweetheart.” I knew Macaroni Grill was her favorite, so I would suggest Macaroni Grill and she would always say, “Oh good, I’m glad you chose Macaroni Grill. I love that place.” I don’t think she ever caught on that I chose that restaurant because it was her favorite, not because it’s where I wanted to go. I haven’t been there for years, but they used to have a dish called Pasta Milano that had chicken and sundried tomatoes and mushrooms in a cream sauce. It was very, very rich and I could never finish my bowl, but I loved it. I think it had spinach also and I’m not a spinach fan so I would get it without spinach and asked them to add toasted pine nuts.

I decided to create a similar dish, only a lighter version. It reminds me of those treasured times with Grandma and the great talks we would have. It’s always fun to make things at home and experiment with measurements and ingredients until you get it just right. I finally got this dish just right. It’s definitely a splurge dish, but there is no butter and a fairly reasonable amount of cream for the size of the dish but there is no compromise on taste.

Start by toasting some pine nuts in a dry pan. Cook them until they are just lightly toasted. Toasting the nuts adds a great depth of flavor and a great crunch that gives the dish a wonderful texture. You’ve seen in other dishes that I toast sesame seeds and almond slivers. I like toasting things.

chicken farfalle

While the pine nuts are toasting, start cooking the chicken. I like using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut it up into bite-sized pieces and just cook it in a little bit of olive oil with S&P and some crushed red pepper flakes for heat.

chicken farfalle

Once the chicken is completely cooked, remove it from the pan and add a little more olive oil and the garlic. Once the garlic is just turning brown, add the sliced mushrooms and cook them until they start to shrink up. I prefer using baby bella mushrooms in this dish. You can use white button mushrooms, but the baby bellas have much greater depth of flavor.

chicken farfalle

After the mushrooms are done cooking, remove them from the pan and add the Neufchatel cheese and cream and heat them until the cheese has melted and starts to bubble and then add in the sundried tomatoes.

chicken farfalle

Once the sauce has heated through, add back in the chicken and mushrooms and toss in the pine nuts and pasta and basil and parmesan and mix it until the sauce coats all of the ingredients.

This is a fantastic dish for entertaining and although it does have cream in it, using the Neufchatel cheese is a great substitute for butter and tons of parmesan cheese that you find in a traditional Alfredo sauce. Personally, I feel that Alfredo sauce is too rich, but this sauce is just right. Do I sound like Goldilocks? “This porridge is too hot! This porridge is too cold! This porridge is just right!” I’m dating myself.

Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce and Toasted Pine Nuts. www.ketchumkitchen

I hope that you will give my Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce a try and post a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #ketchumkitchen and come back and leave me a comment and let me know how it turned out.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen, where everything, without exception, is made from the ♥

Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce


Chicken Farfalle w/ Sundried Tomato Mushroom Garlic Cream Sauce


  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1.75 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2.5 tbl fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbl sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • 1 pound Farfalle pasta, cooked to al dente (use Italian pasta if you can get your hands on it)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbl + 1 tbl olive oil
  • 4 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1 cup whole cream
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • In a small, dry saute pan, toast the pine nuts on med-high heat until they start to turn brown. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken breasts, season with the crushed red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Once the chicken is cooked completely (no pink in the middle), remove from the heat. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and cook the minced garlic until the garlic just starts to turn brown, then add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are softened and start to shrink up. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the skillet and add the Neufchatel cheese and milk and stir and continue cooking until the cheese is melted and the sauce starts to bubble. Add the sundries tomatoes, then add the chicken, mushrooms, pasta, basil and parmesan cheese and stir everything together until all of the ingredients are coated in the sauce and everything is heated thoroughly.
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    1. I bet this smells amazing while it’s cooking! Such a sweet story about lunches with your grandma. 🙂 I just got back from visiting mine. She’s 76 and living in an alzheimers home so it was a bittersweet visit. She loves Olive Garden so we had lunch there one day during our visit 🙂

      103! Amazing. Thanks for the recipe and the story.

      • My maternal grandmother had dimensia and my maternal grandfather had Alzheimer’s. I know what those visits are like. Hang in there and just love on her with all you’ve got! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Thanks Natalie :). I use an LCD light for my shots, but daylight is definitely better – when I get to shoot during the day, but that’s not as often as I would like! This working fulltime and blogging in my “spare” time is not for the faint of heart. I appreciate advice for sure 🙂

    2. I have been craving sun-dried tomatoes lately! I feel like the bring so much flavor to any dish- pizza, pasta, any chicken dish. The toasted sesame seeds probably make a kitchen smell great as well.


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