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Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

This Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe looks and tastes gourmet but is quick, easy and will have everyone head over heels in love!  This recipe features golden, crispy, panko, Parmesan crusted chicken breasts (pan-fried, baked or air fried) and the dreamiest, creamiest Parmesan garlic Alfredo sauce.  This dizzyingly delicious duo is comfort food at its most addictive, ready in just over 45 minutes! Serve this cozy Chicken Fettuccine classic with Caesar salad or roasted Parmesan broccoli along with some Parmesan breadsticks for a complete meal the whole family will adore!
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

CHICKEN

  • 2 medium chicken breasts (about 24 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (grated into powder on smallest hole)
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried basil, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • olive oil (if pan frying or baking)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)

PASTA

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (1 ½ TBS) (may sub 1 tsp ground)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, very soft (optional for even thicker, creamier, or add 1 extra tsp cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp EACH dried basil, dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp EACH onion powder, dried oregano, salt, pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (will not make it spicy)
  • 1 1/2 cups FRESHLY grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano is best)

Instructions

  • Cook pasta: Cook fettuccine al dente in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain and toss pasta with a drizzle of olive oil if not immediately adding to the sauce (prevents it from clumping).

IF BAKING CHICKEN

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Add panko to a large baking sheet and toss with ¼ cup olive oil until evenly moistened or spray with cooking spray (I suggest olive oil, see Notes). Spread panko into an even layer and bake at 425 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes, or until deeply golden, stirring half way through cooking. Keep an eye on the panko the last few minutes so it doesn’t burn. Transfer toasted panko to a shallow dish.

BREAD CHICKEN

  • Make cutlets: Slice the chicken through the equator to create 4 fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet or side of a can, about 1/4-1/2-inch.
  • Breading stations: Line up 3 shallow dishes. In BOWL 1: add flour, BOWL 2: whisk eggs, BOWL 3: mix panko, Parmesan cheese and all Chicken seasonings.
  • Bread chicken: Working with one chicken cutlet at a time, dip both sides of the chicken into the flour, followed by the egg (let excess drip off) followed by the panko. Press the panko firmly into the chicken so it’s evenly coated and breadcrumbs stick. Place finished chicken on parchment paper.

COOK CHICKEN (Choose One)

  • Pan Fry: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add two chicken cutlets and reduce heat to medium. Cook until golden and crispy on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken over, then add 1 tablespoon of butter (optional). Continue to cook another 3-4 minutes, until golden and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read thermometer. Transfer chicken to paper towels. Wipe out skillet and repeat.
  • To bake: Top a baking sheet with a wire rack and spray with cooking spray. Space the chicken evenly apart so they aren't touching. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes, turn each piece over, and continue to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Air fry: Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Working in batches, add the chicken to the basket and spray the chicken with cooking spray. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes, flip, spray with cooking spray, and continue to cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant read thermometer.

ALFREDO SAUCE

  • Note: You can make the Alfredo in the same pan as the chicken or I switched to a larger saucepan to also fit the pasta.
  • Whisk the chicken broth with the cornstarch in a liquid measuring cup (or bowl) until completely smooth; set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Whisk in the broth/cornstarch, heavy cream, cream cheese and all seasonings. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until melted and smooth.
  • Add the grated Parmesan cheese a handful at time in 4 batches, whisking until smooth in between each addition. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes or until it starts to thicken and the Parmesan is completely melted. Keep in mind the sauce will continue to thicken once you add the starchy pasta and it's removed from heat.

COMBINE

  • Add the fettuccine and toss to combine (if you're not serving immediately, wait to add the pasta). If at any time the Alfredo sauce gets too thick, just add a little splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up.
  • Taste and season with additional freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste (we like pepper). Add sliced chicken to the pasta or individual servings. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and serve immediately.

Video

Notes

expert tips 

  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb sold in every grocery store next to the other breadcrumbs. Please do not substitute panko breadcrumbs with regular breadcrumbs or you will be missing out on the gorgeous, satisfying CRUNCH that cannot be achieved with regular breadcrumbs. 
  • Gluten free: Use your favorite gluten free flour such as Bob Red’s Mill Baking Flour and gluten free panko which should be relatively easy to find.  My favorite is Aleia’s Gluten-Free Panko made of rice and potato flour – it’s spectacularly crunchy!
  • Parmesan: Use real Parmigiano-Reggiano right off of the block and not any powdered or pre-shredded cheeses.  Pre-shredded cheeses are coated with anti-clumping chemicals which prevent them from melting completely, leaving your sauce grainy no matter how long you cook it. 
  • Keep one hand clean to avoid a gummy mess.Use one “dry” hand when dredging the chicken in flour and panko.  Use one “wet” hand to dip the chicken in the eggs.  Wash your hands as needed if they start to get gummy.
  • For baking, I prefer olive oil to nonstick cooking spray because it gives the panko a richer, more satisfying mouthfeel that tastes more like the chicken has been pan fried.
  • If baking and you don’t have wire rack, line a baking sheet with lightly grease foil and place in the oven to get nice and hot while you bread the chicken.  Take care when adding the chicken because your pan will be HOT!
  • Recipe variations: See post for all sorts of ideas to mix up this recipe.

Meal Prep

  • Pasta: Cook the fettuccine al dente, drain, rinse and toss with oil to prevent it from clumping.  Cool completely then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to toss with the warmed sauce.
  • Bread chicken: Bread chicken and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.  
  • Alfredo sauce:  The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  When ready to use, gently rewarm in a skillet, adding additional milk or broth as needed to thin.

How to store and reheat

  • Storage:  Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4-5 five days. I do not recommend freezing the sauce because a cream, butter, and cheese-based sauce is destined to become grainy when thawed. You may freeze the chicken separately for up to three months.
  • To reheat the pasta:  Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or over medium-low on the stove, stirring frequently. You may want to add a splash of milk if the pasta seems dry.
  • To reheat the chicken:  Air fry in a single layer at 400 degrees for about 3 minutes or bake at 390 for 3-5 minutes.