Chicken Piccata Pasta is an easy, delicious recipe smothered in a lemon butter caper sauce – it’s such a fun twist on the Italian classic! This version is packed with healthy green beans and bright, briny, salty flavor from the capers.
You’re going to love that you get all the taste of classic chicken piccata served all at once in this pasta recipe. Every piece of pasta is coated in a delicious, thick, luxurious sauce flavored with fresh lemon, lots of butter, and briny capers.
I recommend sipping on a cold glass of white wine when you eat this- since you need a little to cook with, you wouldn’t want to let the rest of that bottle go to waste! (Also, you can use chicken stock instead of wine, if you prefer. To cook with, not to drink. Unless you’re into that kind of thing.)
The shortcut in this recipe is that the green beans cook with the pasta in the water, making it a breeze to mix the pasta and vegetables together in the end. I love using this method with pasta salad, too.
How to prep the ingredients
This recipe, like other pasta recipes, moves pretty quickly. For this reason, I like to have all of my ingredients prepped before I begin.
I recommend starting by chopping the garlic, slicing the onions, and dicing the chicken. Then, mix the diced chicken in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper, to coat it well.
Cooking the chicken in oil AND butter
The oil crisps up the chicken, and the butter turns it golden brown. To be honest, it won’t turn TOO golden brown- not like regular chicken piccata. This is because chicken breast meat cooks quickly, and these are very small pieces. You don’t want to overcook it by waiting until it turns brown.
You’ll only need to cook the chicken for about 5 minutes- just 2-3 minutes per side. When you’re done, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate for later.
Making the chicken piccata pasta sauce
Once you’ve cooked the chicken, you’ll sauté the onions in the leftover butter/oil mixture. After they’re softened, add the garlic and parsley and only sauté for about 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant.
I see so many recipes out there that require sautéing the onions and the garlic together from the beginning. Nine times out of ten, this is a bad idea. Garlic cooks super quickly, and you don’t want it to burn, because it will impart a bitter taste. This applies to almost any recipe in which you need to sauté onions and garlic.
Next, you’ll deglaze the pan with white wine (or chicken broth), and add chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and capers to the mix. Let it simmer for a little so the liquid reduces by about half- you’ll be left with a thicker sauce with more concentrated flavor. YUM.
The last step to making chicken piccata pasta
While you’re making the sauce and cooking the chicken, you’ll boil the pasta with the green beans so everything cooks at once.
I recommend using a slotted spoon to remove the pasta and green beans directly into the pan with the sauce just before it’s finished cooking. That way, the starchy water will cling to every piece, helping to thicken the sauce as the pasta finishes cooking. You’ll also need to add a little of the pasta cooking water into the pan, which will add flavor from the salt and thicken it further.
But you do need to be patient while you wait for it to thicken. It will seem thin at first, but I promise if you keep cooking it for 5-10 minutes, it will thicken. And if that fails, you can just let it cool for a little and it should thicken to perfection.
Finally, you’ll add a little more butter in to melt into the warm pasta, as well as add the chicken back in. Then, you’re ready to serve!
You can use mushrooms instead of green beans- I recommend sautéing them with the onions if you do this. You can also substitute the chicken with another protein, such as shrimp or even chickpeas for a vegetarian option. Just keep an eye on the differences in cooking time for different ingredients.
Other Italian pasta dishes
- Cheesy Baked Gnocchi (OK not technically pasta, but close!)
- Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)
- Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
- Bucatini all’Amatriciana
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara
- Bruschetta Pasta
Check out all of my pasta recipes here!
Did you make this Chicken Piccata Pasta recipe? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Chicken Piccata Pasta with Green Beans
- 8 oz. pasta such as fusilli, gemelli, or penne (I used trottole)
- 12 oz. frozen cut green beans (fresh will also work)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to cook the pasta
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
- 1 pound chicken breasts cut into one-inch pieces
- 1 onion quartered and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, or more chicken stock
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 cup chicken stock/broth
- 2 tablespoons capers drained, more if desired
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- Cook pasta according to directions in heavily salted water. Three minutes before it's al dente, add the frozen cut green beans. Cook for another two minutes, until green beans are tender and just before pasta is al dente.
- Meanwhile, mix the flour (2 tablespoons) with the kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon) in a large bowl. Toss the cut up chicken breasts (1 lb.) in the flour mixture to completely coat.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the flour-coated chicken pieces to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and fully cooked. Remove from skillet onto a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until softened and starting to brown (about 2 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant; about 30 seconds. Add the white wine (1/2 cup) and use a a wooden spoon to scrape up any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the chicken broth (1 cup), lemon juice and zest, and capers (2 tablespoons), and simmer until liquid has reduced by about half.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta and green beans to the skillet, along with 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and stir to coat. Cook until pasta is fully al dente and sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until melted. Add the chicken back to the skillet and stir until heated through.
- Serve with extra lemon slices, parsley, and grated parmesan, if desired.
- The sauce will seem thin at first. Don't worry! Keep cooking it to thicken for a few minutes at the end, and if it still seems thin, allow it to cool for a while before serving, which should help solidify it a bit. Adding grated parmesan cheese is another way to thicken similar sauces- the cheese melts into it as it cooks.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
- Large Skillet
- Large pot
- Slotted Spoon
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in April 2014 as “Whole Wheat Chicken Piccata Pasta.” It’s been edited with new photos, clearer instructions, and an improved recipe.