This super simple creamy tuscan pasta recipe is the ultimate summer weeknight staple that the whole family will love! The Italian chicken meatballs are loaded with tons of Italian spices and parmesan, then baked to perfection in the oven. We finish it off with a ridiculously creamy garlic sauce, that's filled with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. An excellent way to get picky kids to eat their greens!
It's summer and let's be real, we're sick of pasta salads. Don't get me wrong, I love a good pasta salad, but it really gets old sometimes. So, why not try this creamy tuscan pasta with Italian chicken meatballs instead?
The greatest thing about this recipe is that it's so simple and ready in 30 minutes. Which makes it the best for busy weeknights. PLUS eating it makes you feel like you're some rich lady sipping wine on a patio in Tuscany, rather than a stressed out mom who debates donating her kids to the circus!
More reasons why this creamy tuscan pasta is so amazing:
- It's hella creamy, but without the weight of heavy cream!
- The meatballs are baked in the oven instead of fried in oil
- The creaminess of the sauce makes getting your greens in a little more do-able for picky kids and husbands
- It's super versatile so you can swap out many of the ingredients to suit your taste
Tips, Tricks and Modifications
I don't have bread crumbs, what can I use instead?
You could use, potato chips, crackers or oats. I usually prefer crackers and chips as they add more flavour than just plain oats. The best part of using leftover crackers and potato chips is you have a purpose for those pesky tiny crumbled pieces at the bottom of the bag! Just use the same ratio as the bread crumbs and you are good to go!
How to get perfectly round chicken meatballs.
The best tool I've ever used to get all of my meatballs looking exactly the same size is this ice cream scoop set (not sponsored or affiliated). It comes in three sizes so you can choose what size you want your meatballs to be. I usually go for the small one. Then just scoop it out and roll it up with damp hands to avoid sticking to your hands and voila! Perfectly uniform and round meatballs!
Can't find sun-dried tomatoes? No worries!
No need to stress if you can't find sun-dried tomatoes. But, don't be tempted to throw fresh or canned tomatoes in either! Using fresh tomatoes could break your sauce and make it really runny. Unless you're ok with a runny sauce, I would just skip the tomatoes all together. Or perhaps you could try some diced red bell pepper instead. It will still taste bomb, I promise.
Save the stress and make the chicken meatballs ahead of time.
Something I love doing is making a couple batches of these meatballs ahead of time and then freezing them. Quickly whip them up and cook them as directed and then toss in a freezer safe airtight container or plastic bag. Store in a fridge freezer for up to 3 months or up to 6 months in a deep freezer. Defrost them either in the microwave or overnight in the fridge.
Other recipes to eat with the Italian chicken meatballs if creamy tuscan pasta isn't your vibe.
Vodka Penne Pasta with Chicken (swap the ground chicken for meatballs)
Creamy Tuscan Pasta with Italian Chicken Meatballs
Italian Chicken Meatballs
- 1 Lb Raw Ground Chicken
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Basil
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Parsley chopped
- 2 Large Eggs
- ½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- ¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- Ground Black Pepper to taste
Creamy Tuscan Pasta
- 16 Oz Uncooked Linguine Noodles
- 2 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Oil see notes
- 5 Cloves Garlic minced
- ¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes Chopped
- 2 Cups Whole Milk
- 2 tablespoon Corn Starch
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 6 oz Fresh Spinach
- Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to bake at 425°F. Line a large square baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat or cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients (except for the pepper) for the Italian chicken meatballs and mix with your hands until everything is well combined.
- With an ice cream scooper or spoon, scoop two tablespoons worth of the raw chicken mixture and form into a ball with damp hands and place the meatball onto the baking sheet. Repeat this step until you have used all of the mixture. This should yield roughly 18 meatballs. Add ground black pepper to the tops of meatballs to taste.
- Place baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes.
Creamy Tuscan Pasta
- While the meatballs are cooking in the oven bring a large pot of water to a boil using high heat and then place the 16 oz of uncooked linguine (or pasta of your choice) into the boiling pot. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked to your liking. Make sure to stir up the pasta a few times as it cooks. Strain and set aside.
- In a large skillet heat the sun-dried tomato oil over medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in the tomato paste and saute for another 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk together the milk and the corn starch to form a slurry. This step is just to make sure the corn starch is completely dissolved into the milk. Immediately add it into the skillet and begin to incorporate it with the tomato and garlic. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in the salt, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and cooked pasta. Cook on medium-low heat until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and add ground black pepper to taste. Serve with the finished meatballs.