Creamy Tuscan Chicken

By Published On: June 16th, 2024Categories: Chicken0 Comments on Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Here it is served.


And here it is ready for final heating.

Oh, there’s quite a story on this recipe. And for those who follow my blog, you know I love to get behind the recipe; finding out where it originated; how it has changed over time; what country claims it as their own, etc. This recipe most likely began in Italy, hence the name, but I am unable to find it’s actual original beginnings. The name probably derives from two main culinary Italian traditions: Florentine sauce, which is spinach, cream and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese; and Sun-dried tomatoes/garlic and local herbs, of course eaten throughout Italy.


It is based on the idea of “cucina povera”, or “poor cooking”. Meals using simple, inexpensive ingredients easily made in large amounts. This may mean the same thing today, but mostly by choice, not economy. What is a bit odd is that chicken is not the #1 protein used in Italy. It would definitely be beef, such as the fabulous Chianina breed, or pork, such as Cinta Senese from Tuscany, but there are so many more breeds.

There’s another interesting twist with this recipe. The Olive Garden put this dish on their menu some 20-odd years ago making it even more popular everywhere. They claim they developed it from the ‘Culinary Institute of Tuscany’ and call it Tuscan Garlic Chicken.

Some recipes for Creamy Tuscan Chicken use roasted red peppers instead of sun-dried tomatoes. Others use fresh tomatoes. I used slightly blistered cherry tomatoes. Some call for adding a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. You can serve this dish with any type of pasta, risotto or just bread sticks and a salad-ala Olive Garden! But every recipe I found had chicken, spinach, cream, garlic, herbs, cheese and butter. I added a little white wine, Other recipes suggested serving with shrimp, which sounds good, too, except for you purists who do not ever mix seafood and cheese. :-) I say, no rules!

I also learned in doing some research that this is one of Mary Berry’s favorite dishes. Mary Berry is a warm, charming baker/chef, tv personality and author of many cookbooks.

She is from England and I am a huge fan. Mary makes her Creamy Tuscan Chicken by adding onions, tomato paste and likes to serve with potatoes.

Some call for baking the chicken, rather than frying. As you can see lots of little variations, but they all boil down to one thing: DELICIOUS! I pan seared the chicken breasts in hot olive oil and butter.

Before searing your chicken, if you are using fresh cherry tomatoes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the tomatoes out on a sheet pan, lined with foil, and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes just begin to pop.

Another variation, instead of using boneless skinless breasts, use thighs-no skin, but bones in. I used the boneless skinless breasts and dredged in flour seasoned heavily with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Some prefer to dredge in breadcrumbs.

Start by pounding out the chicken breasts so they are an even thickness; about 1 inch so they cook evenly. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. of butter to a heavy saucepan. Heat to medium high and add the chicken. Do not overcrowd so if all your pieces don’t fit, sear them in batches.

Once they are nicely golden brown on both sides; about 3 minutes per side, remove and place on a tray. They will finish cooking in the sauce. Check doneness with a meat thermometer. They should register 165 when finally done.

Turn the heat down a bit and add the garlic for 1 minute stirring it into the pan drippings.

Deglaze the pan by adding the chicken stock and wine. Scrape up all the brown bits from the browning of the chicken. Let this cook down for 10-15 minutes to cook off the wine. Next, add the cream, fresh basil, dried oregano, and Parmesan. Use the best quality Parmesan you can find and grate it on the fine side of a box grater. Cook this down for another 10-15 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Taste for seasoning. Add the blistered tomatoes and spinach and cook for another couple of minutes until spinach wilts. Stir thoroughly to combine all the veg with the sauce. Tuck the chicken back in the pan with any juices that may have collected on the tray. Make sure the chicken is mostly covered with the sauce and veg. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and tests at 165 degrees.

Serve the chicken over pasta and garnish with more freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley.

I used Papardelle to serve as that was my Mom’s favorite. She made that pasta weekly and it was the best. This is what I made for my husband, Jerry tonight for Father’s Day and he loved loved it.

We are going to conclude tonight’s feast with home made vanilla bean ice cream.

Yum Yum!!

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Tender chicken in a rich, garlic herby cream sauce. Easy to put together and something your whole family will love. Simple weeknight dinner, although fancy enough for company.


  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless I used two large breasts and after pounding cut them in half to serve 4.
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 3 Lge. Cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup Chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup White wine I used Barefoot Chardonnay. Don't use your best wine, but always use something that is drinkable.
  • 3/4 cup Heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Basil, freshly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano, dried and divided; One half for the dredging and one half for the sauce
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, finely grated
  • 3 cups Spinach, baby leaf, stemmed If using the larger leaves both stem and rough chop.
  • 2 cups Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lb. Pasta, cooked al dente for serving
  • 1/4 cup Freshly chopped parsley for garnish
  • More freshly grated parmesan for garnish


  • Combine the flour, salt, pepper and about 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano. Stir to mix well.
  • Gently roast the cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan lined with foil. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and salt. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes just begin to pop. Set aside.
  • Pound the chicken breasts to an even 3/4 to 1 inch thickness. Place the chicken breasts and flour dredging mixture in a large zip lock bag and toss and roll around until all sides of the chicken are coated thickly and evenly.
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Shake the chicken breasts slightly and gently drop in the hot oil/butter. Brown for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a tray or platter.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped garlic. Stir for about 1 minute until you can smell the garlic. You do not want it to brown. Add the chicken broth/wine to deglaze the pan and stir to bring up any brown bits from the chicken that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook this down for 10-15 minutes to cook off the wine.
  • Stir in the cream, basil, oregano, and Parmesan. Bring to a simmer and cook stirring frequently until the sauce slightly thickens; about another 10-15 minutes more.
  • Stir in the spinach and blistered cherry tomatoes. Next add the chicken back into the pan making sure they are well covered with sauce and veg. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until chicken registers 165 degrees doneness.
  • Serve with your choice: pasta, risotto, potatoes or simply salad and bread sticks. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan and one pretty piece of basil.

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