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This Creamy Red Wine Chicken Pasta is the perfect way to kickstart fall - this red wine pasta sauce full of flavorful thyme and seasonal mushrooms incorporates all those cosy fall feelings and flavors all at once.
A few weeks ago, despite the summer heat still suffocating all of Stockholm, I started craving pasta. Like, seriously craving it. And not just a light, easy-breezy-sorta-summery pasta vongole or the like - but a full on heavy, creamy, sumptuous dish of pasta. Along with this pasta craving came another one, one reserved for most times of the year apart from 30 C summer days and one that goes excellently with pasta: red wine. Enter: the experiment of the red wine pasta sauce.
Unlike most experiments, this one actually turned out amazing the first time. I've since made it about four times and it actually turned out great each and every time, so now I feel ready to share it with you guys as well. I'm quite sure you will end up making this creamy red wine chicken pasta over and over again as well. It's definitely one of my new favorites at least!
You'll notice that the ratio of chicken and mushrooms to pasta in this recipe is quite high - if you want to you can, of course, add more pasta and it will serve more people. I, however, like having more of the good stuff and less pasta (not that pasta isn't good stuff, but never mind) - you do you, this recipe could probably hold double the amount of pasta if you like - maybe just add another deciliter of red wine, 1.5 dl more cream and another deciliter of pasta water and you should be fine.
I made basically the same recipe each time I tried this, but the finishing touch was adding some chanterelles this last time, as we're coming into chanterelle season here in Sweden and they're now at least somewhat reasonably priced. They do make it a bit extra, but honestly, the recipe isn't that dependant on them so if you have trouble finding them or you wanna keep it a bit on the cheaper side - just skip them. I used both chanterelles and white button mushrooms, but it would probably be even tastier with some Porcini or autumn chanterelles added to the mix. Use whatever's seasonal and reasonable!
Depending on the water percentage of your mushrooms it might be a good idea to cook away the water before adding them to the butter and onion. Otherwise, you might end up with far too much water in the sauce. I did this with the mushrooms for this recipe but since we had such a dry summer they really didn't need it.
I also suggest cooking the chicken until it's finished or almost finished in a separate pan. This way you can add it to the sauce at the very end and will not end up with dry and tough chicken. It will probably release a lot of water in the pan - lucky you!! Don't throw this away - add it to the sauce together with the chicken, it adds a lot of extra flavor. Also, letting the chicken cook in the water it releases (as opposed to pouring it off) actually seems to make the chicken extra tender and juicy.
For this recipe (and a lot of my other recipes) I keep the garlic cloves in one piece, but slightly crush them using the side of the knife. This allows you to infuse the dish with some garlic flavor without it getting to be too overpowering, and without having to worry as much about garlic breath after. Just remember how many garlic cloves you put in and remember to remove them before serving.
You can of course replace the fresh thyme with dried if you want to, but what I like about using fresh thyme is that this allows me to pick it out at the end together with the garlic. I love the flavor, but I hate the sprigs, so if you do too this is the way to go. If you want to pretty it up you can always add some fresh (and easily removable...) sprigs on top when serving.
However nice the ingredients mentioned above may be, the secret to this recipe is actually the finishing touch: Parmesan. Instead of adding it over the finished dish, it's added to the sauce and mixed in well. Just do it. You are allowed to add extra at the end as well, of course. Who am I to tell you not to add excessive amounts of cheese? (And what is really an "excessive" amount of cheese? Is there even such a thing?)
Oh, and as always with pasta sauces - cook the pasta just a minute short of finished, and let it finish cooking in the sauce together with some pasta water. Makes all the difference.
I hope you'll enjoy this Creamy Red Wine Chicken Pasta just as much as I have - and don't forget to share it if you do, and please tag me @alwaysusebutter! Did you try it? Please leave a rating below!
Creamy Red Wine Pasta Sauce with Chicken & MushroomsPrint Rate
- 4 Tbsp butter divided, more if needed
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves in one piece but slightly crushed
- 10 white button mushrooms chopped
- 500 g chicken thigh filets cut in bite-size pieces
- 2 dl red wine
- 2 Tbsp concentrated mushroom stock
- 20 fresh thyme sprigs + more to serve
- 2.5 dl cream
- 250 g fresh tagliatelle
- 2 dl pasta water
- 1 dl grated parmesan + more to serve
- Heat a pan, large enough to hold all the sauce and pasta, over medium heat. Add half of the butter, chopped onion and garlic cloves. Let cook for a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the second half of the butter and allow to melt, then add the mushrooms. Let cook for a few minutes. If the mushrooms start to look dry, add more butter.
- Push the mushrooms to one side of the pan and add the chicken on the other side. Cook separately until it's got some color on all sides, then mix it up with the mushrooms.
- Raise the temperature to medium-high, pour in the red wine, and cook for 2 minutes until about half of the wine has evaporated.
- Add concentrated mushroom stock, thyme sprigs and cream. Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature to medium again. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Cook it 1 minutes less than stated on the package. Then drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
- When the sauce is done, use kitchen forceps or a fork to remove the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Then add the pasta together with the pasta water. Mix, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes, until the pasta is done.
- Mix in the grated parmesan, and serve topped with some fresh thyme & more parmesan.
Equipment needed for this recipe
Ingredient notes & substitutions
- Mushrooms - I recommend white button mushrooms or a mix of white button mushrooms and chantarelles
- Red wine - dry and flavorful works best, I prefer a Nebbiolo or Barbera as it pairs so well with the mushrooms and thyme
- Cream - full fat, low fat, or half and half
- Fresh tagliatelle - dry pasta works as well, and any shape
- Chicken thigh filets have more taste than chicken breast filets, but both work
- Concentrated mushroom stock - if you don't have it, add a crumbled bouillon cube together with the wine instead, and make sure it's all mixed up before adding cream
Tips & tricks
- Get just the right amount of garlic flavor by using whole cloves that are just slightly crushed - this gives a subtle garlic taste, and you can easily remove them before serving
- Keep adding butter until the mushrooms are saturated, for the fullest taste
- Use a red wine you really like for the best tasting sauce
- Serve the same wine alongside the pasta for a perfect pairing
- Remove the thyme sprigs and garlic cloves before serving, for a fancy touch
- Don't skip the pasta water it thickens the sauce and helps it coat the pasta
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days
- Freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months
Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.