Chicken Florentine with Pasta and Fresh Tomatoes | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chicken Florentine with Pasta and Fresh Tomatoes

Tender pieces of chicken in a light garlic-lemon-Parmesan sauce served over thin whole wheat pasta and topped with fresh tomato slices.

Have I got your taste buds waking up?  Your mouth watering?  Piqued your interest?

The base of this  recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen - Light & Healthy 2010.  So far every recipe I have made from this book has been excellent, and this one does not disappoint!   It is a delicious combination of flavors.  My own spin on the dish is the addition of tomato slices and whole wheat pasta.  It made for a very filling one dish meal for around 350 calories or 9 points+!  Serve some crusty bread on the side for a complete meal.  ( the nutrition information given is for pasta dish only)

I substituted thawed frozen spinach for the fresh spinach called for in the original recipe.  By using frozen it saved me time wilting down the spinach and allowed me to really get the water out of the spinach before adding it to the sauce, but you could use fresh spinach if you wish.  Make sure to use low sodium, fat free chicken broth in this recipe, as the regular salted broth will make the sauce too salty.

Chicken Florentine with Pasta and Fresh Tomatoes
adapted from America's Test Kitchen - Light & Healthy 2010

Servings - 6    Serving size - 1/6th of recipe   Points Plus per serving - 9 points+
Calories - 349.9,   Total Fat - 6.4g,   Carb. - 46.5g,   Protein - 33g,   Fiber - 7.4g

12 oz. whole wheat thin spaghetti, cooked according to package directions to al dente
1 (10 oz.) package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 TBS. canola oil, divided
24 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( 6 - 4 oz. breasts )
salt and pepper
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS. all purpose flour ( I used a quick dissolve flour, such as Wondra) 
3 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 small to medium fresh tomatoes, sliced

1.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp. of oil until hot.  Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to pan and brown on each side ( about 5 minutes ).  Chicken doesn't need to be done all the way through.  Remove chicken to a platter or dish with sides to a warm oven ( 200 -250 degrees F) while you make the sauce.  (This will usually finish cooking the chicken all the way through, without it drying out)

2.  Add the remaining 2 tsp. of oil to the hot pan.  Saute the garlic and the shallot until soft, about 1 minute. Add in flour and stir to combine.  Whisk in broth.  Let mixture come to a boil, and then simmer until thickened and somewhat reduced.  Add in thawed spinach and heat through.

3.  Remove the chicken from the oven, and check for doneness.  ( chicken should be 160 degrees on instant read thermometer and no longer be pink in the middle)  Slice each chicken breast into 6 - 7 thin slices per breast on a diagonal.  Set aside.  

4. Once sauce is done, turn off heat and add in half and half, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Test for need for salt and pepper and season if you want to.  ( I only added pepper at this point ) Add the chicken back into the sauce and top with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.  Cover to let the heat from the sauce melt the cheese. 

5.  To assemble plates, put about 4 oz. cooked pasta ( equivalent to 2 oz. uncooked) onto the plates, top with 1/6th of the chicken mixture and top with a couple of fresh tomato slices.  You can also start with a handful of fresh spinach under the hot pasta ( it will wilt somewhat with the pasta and the sauce ) if you like to veg up the dish even more.  Top with a bit more Parmesan cheese and some fresh ground black pepper. 


This dish made a nice and easy weeknight meal for us.  The original recipe called for the chicken to be put into a casserole dish and then put under the broiler to melt the cheese, but I just didn't see a need for this step.  If you like your cheese browned, then you could do that.  You could even leave it right in the skillet if you have an oven safe one.  But I was fine with just having the cheese melted.  

I also got a new camera this weekend.  The pictures from this dish were taken with it.  Not sure if I love it yet or not....still working on figuring it out.  Natural light has been such a challenge lately, as we have just been drowning in gray skies and rain.  A photographer I am  Any tips and pointers from those with more experience are appreciated! :)


  1. mmm- lemon and garlic go so well together! The dish looks fantastic. And a great calorie count for an Italian meal! Hooray for the new camera. I'm totally not a photographer either ;)

  2. This is definitely now on my list to make. Yum! Your pics are great so you must be doing something right with the new camera :)

    Thanks for the ecookbook tip!

  3. This looks delicious! The pictures came out great. I want to take photography classes just to take better pictures!

  4. That looks very light and delicious. Perfect, like you said, for a weeknight meal.

  5. This looks so delicious. I have that cookbook and somehow had looked over this recipe. I'm so glad you posted this because I'm going to have to try it. Thanks!

  6. This looks soooo good. OOOH Renee! A new camera???? So excited for you, and these photos look GREAT!!! Can't wait to see more! Have a great day.

  7. Yes you did get my interest with this recipe!

    I am no photographer and I just use a point and shoot camera.

    I do know that some food bloggers use a light box when there isn't natural light to use. You can even make one yourself.

  8. wow! This looks absolutely out of this world amazing and delicious. I seriously need to make this.


  9. What tantalizing photos, Renee! That dish looks amazing! I adore spinach, so this is right up my alley!

  10. MMM! If I could hire you as my personal chef, I totally would :)

  11. I love everything about this dish - except the fresh tomato - I have a weird thing with fresh tomatoes, they either have to be seeded and diced really fine like in bruscetta or usually I have puree tomato sauces. Yes, I am weird! :D

  12. Yum, this looks great! Can't wait for our tomatoes to come in so I can make recipes like this!

    Amy @ A Little Nosh


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