Sicilian Pasta with Ground Chicken is an easy pasta recipe and is simply delicious! Made with ground chicken and including some pantry ingredients like canned tomatoes, peas, and also fresh herbs. It’s ready in just 30 minutes!
This recipe is quick and fast, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights. It’s also a sauce you could make on the weekend. So if you have extra time, go ahead and let it slowly simmer all day in your slow cooker.
Can I tell you how many times a week I make a pasta recipe? More than I can even remember! My family loves a simple pasta recipe. If you love pasta recipes as much as we do, you should try my Pasta alla Norma, or my Easy Pasta Puttanesca Recipe.
Rigatoni Ground Chicken and Peas Skillet
This recipe came together with things I had on hand in my pantry. The total cost was under $10 and it was ready in about 30 minutes. Is there anything more you could ask for in a pasta recipe?
Check out my #projectsicilia to remember my dad with Sicilian recipes. Hope you enjoy the project!
What ingredients are in Sicilian Pasta with Ground Chicken? (full printable recipe below)
- Olive oil – I used Sicilian extra-virgin olive oil. You could use whatever oil you have like to cook with to make your sauce.
- Onions– Shallots, white onions, or red onions could work. I had shallots on hand that I use for this recipe.
- Tomatoes – This recipe has a combo of chopped fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes. San Marzano DOP canned tomatoes are the best (if you could get some).
- Ground Chicken – I had ground chicken (1 lb) on hand and used that for the sauce. It could be subbed with ground turkey or ground beef (lean would be nice).
- Peas –I had canned peas in my pantry. Typically, I have frozen peas and would have used them. Fresh peas are also great, if you can find them!
- Seasoning – I used sea salt and freshly ground pepper. If you like it spicy, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes.
- Fresh herbs – I had fresh rosemary and that’s what I used. But fresh thyme or basil would also be nice.
- Cheese – Ricotta salata was what I used. If you have Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino, that would work fine.
- Tomato Sauce – to help thicken the recipe I used tomato paste and crushed tomatoes.
- Pasta – Rigatoni works great for this sauce. Penne, fusilli, or even spaghetti would also be nice!
How To Make The Rigatoni Ground Chicken and Peas Skillet
Once you get the sauce going, you’ll have a delicious pasta recipe ready for your family in about 30 minutes.
- INGREDIENTS: First thing is to gather all your ingredients.
- SOME MORE INGREDIENTS: Here is the grated ricotta salata and my extra-virgin olive oil.
- COOK ONION: Place a large skillet on medium heat. Drizzle on some olive oil and add in your chopped shallot or onion. I used a shallot, but any sort of onion would do. Cook until translucent.
- COOK GROUND CHICKEN: Raise the heat a little. Add in the ground chicken and use your wooden spoon to break it up as it cooks. I like to use my potato masher to break up the large chunks. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- ADD IN TOMATOES: As soon as the chicken is just barely pink, add in fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add in the broth or some water and stir. Let it simmer on a medium heat. While it’s simmering, put the pasta water to boil.
- FRESH HERBS: I had fresh rosemary on hand. I added some chopped rosemary (not the stem, just the leaves) to the sauce. You could add fresh thyme or even fresh basil, if you have that on hand.
- ADD IN PEAS: I used canned peas, so you could add those in during the last minutes while the sauce is cooking. Check the seasoning of the sauce and add some more salt and pepper, to your taste.
- COOK THE PASTA: As soon as the salted pasta water is boiling, add in your pasta. Cook until about one minute before al dente. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- STIR IN PASTA: Dump the drained pasta immediately into the pan with the sauce (do not rinse the pasta). Raise the heat to medium-high and stir the pasta to combine with the sauce.
- PLATE IT UP: Spoon on portions of the pasta to the plates. Grate on some ricotta salata, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino.
- Sprinkle on some more fresh herbs, if you like. ENJOY!
What does it mean to cook pasta al dente?
Cooking pasta al dente in Italian means “to the tooth”. Which means, when you take a bite of the pasta, it is NOT MUSHY, it should have a slight chew. It should be a little firm, and it is the best consistency to serve the pasta with the sauce.
Do Italians rinse pasta?
No, Italians do not rinse pasta. You may have seen recipes that you need to drain and rinse the pasta. It’s not necessary to rinse the pasta. The reason you don’t need to rinse the pasta, because the starches on the pasta water help the sauce cling to the pasta.
Can I make ground chicken sauce in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make this ground chicken sauce in your slow cooker. Start by cooking the shallot (or onions), ground chicken, tomatoes and canned tomatoes in a skillet. You don’t have to cook the chicken all the way through.
You could just give the chicken a little color, add in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add it all to your slow cooker. If you’ll be gone all day, cook it on low for 6-8 hours and let the slow cooker do all the work.
Check the seasoning, and adjust the salt and pepper, to your taste.
Can I use ground turkey or ground beef?
Yes, you could use either ground turkey or ground beef. The sauce will still be delicious. I just happened to have ground chicken on hand, and that’s what I used for the sauce.
Could this recipe be made with gluten-free pasta?
Yes, it sure could! Use whatever is your favorite gluten-free pasta. When I cook just for myself, I’ll use brown rice pasta (no one else in my family likes brown rice pasta!).
Can I use a different shaped pasta?
Absolutely! My family really likes rigatoni with a meat sauce. They also love penne pasta. Any short pasta would work, like fusilli or even orecchiette. Spaghetti would work great!
What can you serve ground chicken tomato sauce with?
There are various options on what to serve this sauce with:
- Pasta – we served with rigatoni. It’s great with penne, spaghetti, or even gnocchi.
- Some low carb ideas: spaghetti squash – veggie noodles – zoodles (zucchini noodles), swoodles (sweet potato noodles), etc.
- Quinoa or even mashed cauliflower would be nice.
- Polenta is very nice to serve with this sauce.
Is this pasta recipe dairy-free?
The sauce is totally dairy-free. I added on grated ricotta salata at the end. But you could skip any sort of cheese if you’re dairy-free.
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Some other pasta recipes to enjoy:
Sicilian Pasta with Ground Chicken
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 large shallot or medium sweet onion or red onion, finely chopped
- 1 lb ground chicken (or ground turkey or lean ground beef)
- 1-2 teaspoons sea salt plus salt for the pasta water (1-1 ½ tablespoons for the pasta water)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more, to taste
- 1-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes I use San Marzano
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes almost ½ lb (I used plum tomatoes)
- ½ cup unsalted vegetable broth or water
- 15 oz sweet peas canned frozen or fresh
- 1 lb rigatoni or any short pasta like penne, casarecce, fussili
- ¾ cup finely grated ricotta salata for serving (or Parmigiano-Reggiano, or pecorino)
- a small handful chopped fresh rosemary for serving (or thyme, or basil) optional
- In a large saute’ pan, add the extra-virgin olive oil and heat until it’s shimmering. Add in the chopped shallots (or onions) and once it is translucent, add in the ground chicken.
- Stir with wooden spoon to break up. I use a potato masher to break the ground chicken into smaller chunks. Season with salt and a little bit of freshly ground pepper.
- Next, add in the fresh tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Add in the broth (or water) and stir.
- Check the sauce and add a little salt, if needed.
- Add in the peas and stir to combine.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- As soon as it boils, add in the pasta and cook until it is just under al dente (could be around 10-12 minutes, depends on what pasta brand you use).
- Drain the pasta when it is just before reaching al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Raise the heat of the sauce a little. Add the pasta to the saute’ pan with the sauce. Stir to combine and add a little bit of pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
- Plate up the pasta. Grate on the ricotta salata (or whatever cheese you are using) and sprinkle on some chopped fresh herbs (I used fresh rosemary). ENJOY!