This recipe was inspired by a dish I had at an unassuming trattoria in Sydney, Australia, over a decade ago. It was a simple chicken and pasta dish tossed in a sauce that tastes similar to Vodka sauce but contains no actual vodka. It was so delicious, I knew I had to figure out how to recreate it at home.
I spent a long time trying to get this sauce right, and I think I’ve finally nailed it! Over the years, I’ve added various veggies, but I think zucchini is the best. This hearty one-bowl meal is creamy, cheesy, and tomato-y all at the same time. It’s like wrapping yourself in a delicious Italian hug!
NOTE: I recommend using pizza seasoning in this recipe, which is different than your typical Italian seasoning. While Italian seasoning is comprised of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, pizza seasoning includes several more herbs and spices, such as fennel, onion, and garlic. If you’re unable to find pizza seasoning, substituting Italian seasoning is just fine.
Chicken, Zucchini, and Fusilli in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce
2 chicken breasts, roasted and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 oz dried fusilli pasta (I use whole wheat fusilli)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBSP plus scant amount of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C chicken broth
14 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp pizza seasoning (or Italian seasoning)
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, sauté zucchini slices in a scant amount of olive oil until cooked through (I use an oil sprayer like Misto). Once soft, remove zucchini from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the minced garlic for approximately 1 minute.
Add chicken broth and bring to a low simmer. Stir in tomatoes and pizza seasoning. Bring mixture to a low simmer and let it cook until it reduces by half.
Reduce heat to low. Pour in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Stir and cook until heated through and thickened, about 3 minutes.
Fold in roasted chicken and cooked zucchini. Serve immediately over cooked pasta.