We make this incredible Mexican-inspired spicy chicken chipotle pasta recipe when we crave an immensely satisfying one-dish dinner that comes together in under 30 minutes. Chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, cream, and parmesan cheese add deep flavors.
Why this recipe sings
I love all the Mediterranean dishes, which are primarily our lunch and dinner options. I also enjoy eating and cooking other cuisines like this Mexican-inspired spicy chipotle chicken pasta recipe.
- The chicken is perfectly seasoned. It is sweet, savory, spicy, and full of flavor.
- The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce give the dish extra flavor fast. It feels like I am cheating when I make this pasta. It’s easy!
- Be warned, this is not diet food. The sauce is creamy, rich, and satisfying. It’s the perfect comfort food dish you can enjoy now and then.
- Finally, it’s ready in 30 minutes. That’s all you need to have a delicious meal in a pinch. Need I say more?
Here is what you need
- Chicken thighs. I mostly use thighs in my cooking. This time they are skinless and boneless. Feel free to use breasts if yu like.
- Rigatoni pasta. You can use any pasta you like, but I recommend shortcut shapes like rigatoni, penne, or farfalle for maximum results. This shape holds the sauce well and fits with the bite-size chicken pieces.
- Extra virgin olive oil, onion, and garlic.
- Two-three chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Substitute with one or two fresh chili peppers and a couple of tablespoons of chipotle barbecue sauce, like Rufus Teague’s Smoke ‘N Chipotle. Small dice the chili pepper and add it to the pan with the garlic. Saute for one minute and follow with the sauce.
- White wine. My favorite white wine to drink and add to my sauces are crisp, dry whites, like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Substitute with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
- Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. These two make a creamy and sinful but ever-so-good sauce. Try to get the best cheese for your budget. Ideally, pick a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano) and grate it yourself. You can use pre-grated cheese from your grocery store’s deli fridge, but check if there is an anticaking agent in the ingredients. It’s best if the only ingredient is cheese. Avoid cheese in plastic jars that sit forever in supermarket isles at all costs. For the cream, you can use a light version or half and half if you prefer.
- Fresh parsley and chili flakes. For serving.
This is my favorite seasoning for chicken. I use it as a rub for roasts, and it is also excellent for grilling.
Get a small jar or bowl and mix:
- one teaspoon of sea salt
- half a teaspoon of sugar
- half a teaspoon of chili powder
- half a teaspoon of garlic powder
- half a teaspoon of onion powder
- zest from one lemon
- Use it liberally all over the chicken with a bit of olive oil.
Step by step
While your chicken cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Save half a cup of pasta water. Take your pasta out a couple of minutes before the package directions.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately with more parmesan and chili flakes.
Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta Recipe
- 1 large deep saucepan
- ½ lb rigatoni pasta
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 chicken thighs skinless and boneless
- 1 onion medium size
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2-3 poblano peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 cup white wine
- 1½ cup heavy cream
- 1½ cups parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 lemon zested
- Toss the olive oil, chicken, seasoning, and freshly ground pepper in a bowl.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large deep saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the chicken, and sear until deeply golden on both sides, about five minutes per side. The sugar in the seasoning will caramelize and darken the chicken. It adds significant flavor! Turn the heat off and transfer it to a plate.
- While your chicken cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Save half a cup of pasta water. Take your pasta out a couple of minutes before the package directions.
- Add the onion to the same pan. Scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Cook for one minute until the onion is fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Roughly mash the poblano peppers with a fork and add them to the pan. Pour any sauce from the peppers into the pan and cook for one minute.
- Add the wine and cook on high for two minutes to let the alcohol evaporate.
- Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the grated parmesan.
- Put the pasta in the sauce, stir, and add a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, add it to the pan, and stir. Add the parsley.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately with more parmesan and chili flakes.