Farfalle with Chicken, Mushrooms, Spinach and Ricotta



I had some ricotta leftover from the orange-ricotta pancakes, and, rather than overthink it, I decided to pair it with what came naturally–pasta, of course.   This type of dish pretty much exemplifies the whole cooking-from-your-pantry idea. I was low on groceries so I used dried herbs, canned tomatoes, and vermouth (you’ll remember I keep it around to use in place of dry whites because of its shelf-stability). There’s fresh spinach in this, but you can certainly use frozen instead. I don’t really recommend canned mushrooms (’cause I think they’re kinda icky) but if you like them, by all means, use those in place of fresh.

This is a nice, light pasta. The sauce isn’t heavy (or, really, very saucy at all) and the ricotta makes it just a touch creamy.  It’s also quite healthy. Rather than overdo the pasta (and I use whole wheat, anyway), I’ve bulked this up with veggies and lean chicken breast. Now that I eat an actual serving size of pasta (and get full from it, too), it’s scary to think how much pasta I used to eat in one sitting. 

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Presto Pasta Night, so I’m happy to share this recipe with Ruth, as well as Katie of Thyme for Cooking, who’s hosting this week’s PPN.  This recipe is pretty “presto” with the use of things I had in the kitchen. 


Farfalle with Chicken, Mushrooms, Spinach, and Ricotta

Serves 4
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1/2 lb. whole wheat farfalle or other pasta
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. b/s chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced 
1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine (or broth)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, partially drained but some liquid reserved
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
1.5 tsp. dried basil
1 (3 oz) package baby spinach (or a package of frozen spinach, thawed & drained)
1/2 cup lowfat ricotta cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, and then add the farfalle. Cook until al dente. Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and, once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pan. Brown on all sides, and then add the onions and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Sauté until all vegetables are tender.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the vermouth. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated, and then stir in the diced tomatoes (and a few tablespoons of juice), red pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, basil, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmering until the flavors have developed (and chicken has cooked through). Add the spinach and cook until wilted down, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Off the heat, stir in the ricotta cheese.



Nutritional Information Per Serving (this count uses vermouth, which has a few more calories than white wine): Calories: 477 / Fat: 8.6g / Saturated Fat: 1.9g / Carbs: 52.6g / Fiber: 7.1g / Protein: 41g


Farfalle with Chicken, Mushrooms, Spinach and Ricotta

  • What a great dish! I love how you used up what you had on hand, it’s nice to really clean out the fridge in such a delicious way!

  • brannyboilsover

    This looks like an absolutely beautiful, healthy, weeknight meal.

  • Glad to see you back at Presto Pasta Nights. this one is a keeper!

  • Great flavours and combo Elly. I too am an advocate for “throwing things together” for pasta dishes. Ricotta is so versatile…

  • This is a wonderful pasta dish Elly, perfect for that baby spinach lined up up in my refrigerator:D

  • Looks delicious. I love quick and easy throw-it-together pasta dishes like this, especially when they turn out so good!

  • That looks fantastic. And yes, I mean both your recipe AND your photo.


  • Fab photo and wonderful looking recipe! (I’ve missed commenting on your blog for a bit so it’s so good to have some time and catch up with all your cooking/baking! 🙂 )

  • I love all kind of pasta, especially when it is so easy and healthy! Yr photo is fantastic!

  • kanella

    Presto type of recipes are always a good thing!

  • Hmm yummy! I love the colors of this dish

  • What a colorful and healthy pasta dish! So perfect for a tasty weeknight meal 🙂

  • This sounds like a great pasta! I do think pasta is one of the easiest things to make up as you’re cooking… although there have been some kind of weird pasta creations in my kitchen when i get too creative!

  • That’s funny, cause I had some ricotta left over from another dish and used it to make a slightly different version of your ricotta and orange pancakes (I’ll post soon)! I guess ricotta can really go a long way!

    This pasta dish looks amazing. I love tossing pasta with such great flavors as mushrooms and spinach. Add some creamy cheese and you’re at perfection.

  • I love tossing pasta with ingredients such as yummy mushrooms and spinach. Add some creamy cheese and you’re well near perfection. Delicious!

  • I love throwing together pasta dishes like this! Cooking from the pantry as got to one of my most favorite things! I also know what you mean about serving sizes…it is hard to get used to measuring!

  • Another fabulous combination of flavors from you! And I especially love the ricotta in there!

  • ash

    looks so colorful and healthy!

  • Elly, that’s one striking overhead photo of the pasta dish. I have a special place for farfalle. My giagia always made pasta using Petaloudes.

  • Hi Elly – found this from Saveur.com and it looks AMAZING!
    Could you do it with all fresh stuff too? I would rather do that… and I can moosh up tomatoes too – to make the juice.
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Noelle. You can definitely do this with fresh tomatoes. I would just seed them and dice them, and go from there. If you have fresh basil, I would add that at the very end, just before plating, rather than with the other ingredients to simmer.

  • Awesome. Thanks!! 😀

  • Apples

    As a dorm-dwelling college student, I have an important question to ask: Can this work without the vermouth?

    • Hi Apples. You definitely don’t need the vermouth. You can use a little chicken broth in place if you want!