Lemon Chicken Pasta

Creamy lemon chicken pasta is a guaranteed weeknight winner. Crispy panko-crusted chicken sits on a bed of tender linguine that's tossed with a luscious lemon-cream sauce and silky zucchini rounds. The lemon comes through in the chicken and the sauce, bringing the whole dish together. This is a rich pasta dinner, with cream and cheese, but the lemon makes it feel light. We'll have seconds, please!

Lemon Chicken Pasta
  • 1 (16-oz.) pkg. uncooked linguine

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 2 tsp. lemon zest, plus 1/4 cup juice (from 2 lemons), divided

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 3 (10 oz. each) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally into cutlets

  • 7 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 2 (6 oz. each) zucchini, cut into 1/4-in.-thick rounds (about 2 1/2 cups), divided

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped (1 1/2 tsp.)

  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and lemon slices


    Cook pasta:

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add linguine; cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain linguine in a colander, and set aside until ready to use.

    Make dredging stations:

    While linguine cooks, stir together flour and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a shallow bowl. Stir together panko, Italian seasoning, black pepper, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a separate shallow bowl. Place egg in a third shallow bowl.

    Dredge chicken:

    Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge chicken in flour, and shake off excess. Dip in beaten egg, letting excess drip off; dredge in panko mixture to coat, pressing to adhere, as needed. Set chicken aside on a plate. Repeat process with remaining pieces of chicken, flour, egg, and panko mixture. (Discard any remaining flour, egg, and panko mixture.)

    Cook zucchini:

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add half of the zucchini evenly spaced in skillet, pressing slightly so surface makes contact with skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until browned in spots, about 1 minute. Flip, and cook on other side, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate, and set aside. Repeat process with remaining zucchini. Wipe skillet clean.

    Cook chicken:

    Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add 3 pieces of  chicken, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; wipe skillet clean. Repeat process with remaining 3 tablespoons oil and remaining 3 pieces chicken; set aside, and keep warm.

    Begin sauce:

    Add butter to large pot used to cook pasta, and melt over medium-high. Add garlic and onion powder, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Add cream and cooking water:

    Stir in whipping cream, 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often.

    Add lemon juice and cheese:

    Reduce heat to low, and slowly add lemon juice while whisking vigorously, 30 to 45 seconds. Add Parmesan, and cook, whisking constantly, until Parmesan melts and sauce is thick, 2 to 5 minutes.

    Finish pasta:

    Add linguine, zucchini, and remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest to pot, and toss to mix evenly.

    Slice chicken, and serve:

    Slice chicken; divide linguine mixture evenly among bowls, and top evenly with chicken. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

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