Hot-Style Chicken Cavatappi with Tomato Spiced Sauce

Submitted by Sandra Dombek

About the cook: I live in upstate New York, with my husband, and lots of family nearby. I don’t think I’m ever not cooking! Cooking and creating recipes is something I love to do all the time. I have been cooking with my mom and grandma since I was a preteen, and we have always shared a passion for cooking.

About the dish: You don't need to take a trip to the south to wake up your taste buds! This Hot-Style Chicken Cavatappi with Spiced Sauce features crispy chicken strips combined with pasta and a creamy sun dried tomato spiced sauce for a fiery finish. Little more is needed to round it all out other than a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

National Origin: Italian

Serves: 4

Estimated Time: 30 to 60 Minutes


1lb cavatappi pasta
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan, divided
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tsp cajun seasoning
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes in olive oil with Italian herbs
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for topping
Parmesan cheese, shredded, for topping


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge both sides of the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture, place the chicken on a plate and set aside.

In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes until the peppers are soft. Stir in the cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until the spices and garlic are fragrant, then stir in the milk and cream. Add the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Keep sauce warm.

In a skillet heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook 4 minutes or until golden brown on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into thin strips.

Stir remaining grated Parmesan into sauce. Toss in the pasta and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the chicken and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Top with shredded Parmesan and parsley.

Serves 8

Chat about it!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *