Homemade chicken pomodoro, a delicious, quick recipe ready in about 20 minutes. Serve the tender chicken breast pieces in tomato sauce over pasta.
Chicken breast is perfect for quick cooking! It takes no time to be ready, it’s healthy, and it’s always delicious. This chicken pomodoro recipe is no exception: it only takes about 20-30 minutes of your time (depending on how fast you are with chopping the onion and garlic), it’s low in fat and high in protein, and it tastes fantastic.
On top of that? It only uses one pan and a handful of ingredients, it costs almost nothing, and your kids will love it! And it’s served with pasta – everybody loves pasta!
What do you need for tomato chicken?
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- Chicken breast: preferably thinner, smaller pieces to cook fast and evenly (about ½ inch/ 1.3 cm). I recommend flattening them shortly with a meat mallet before cooking to ensure that they are evenly thick.
- Flour and seasoning for the meat
- Canned tomatoes, diced. If the canned tomatoes are whole, chop them or break them roughly with the hand or a wooden spoon directly in the pan.
- Heavy cream: adds creaminess and helps thicken the sauce. If you want even fewer calories in the dish, use half-half. However, I prefer to cook chicken pomodoro with heavy cream, it is only a little, and it really mellows and thickens the dish very nicely.
- Onion: regular yellow or white onion. Red is fine as well; use what you happen to have.
- Garlic: fresh garlic, not powder.
- Dried red chili flakes or a pinch of cayenne. Use to taste.
- Sugar: just a tiny amount. It is essential as it balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Some tomatoes (either fresh or canned) are more acidic than others, and they need some help to create a sweet, good-tasting sauce. It’s not something you always have to add when you make tomato sauce, but it’s crucial to use it when the cooking time is so short.
- Olive oil and seasoning.
- Fresh basil: I love using fresh whole basil sprigs when cooking this sauce or marinara. They leave the flavor in the sauce, and you can discard the unsightly sprigs before serving the dish.
How to cook chicken pomodoro?
- Pound the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet. (1)
- Mix flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Dredge chicken through the mixture, pat gently to remove excess flour. (2)
- Heat a large nonstick pan or skillet. Add oil. Cook meat for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a plate.
- Chop onion and garlic and set them aside separately.
- Cook the diced onion and a small pinch of salt in one tablespoon oil for about 5 minutes, often stirring until soft.
- Add garlic and red chili flakes or cayenne, stir for 1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, sugar, and basil, continue cooking for 2 minutes. (1)
- Pour in heavy cream, stir and simmer for 2 minutes. (2)
- Tuck in the breasts, cover, and simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through. (3)
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
- Chop the leaves of the remaining basil. Sprinkle on top of the finished dish. (4)
How to serve pomodoro chicken?
The most popular way is to serve it with pasta and with pasta I mean spaghetti, I don’t think we ever had this dish with any other shapes. However, any different kind of pasta shape is excellent, don’t stress if you don’t have spaghetti in the pantry.
Alternatives are white or brown rice, orzo, bulgur, and even potatoes. I think I will try mashed potatoes next time; I bet they would be great! Or serve the dish with Simple Fried Gnocchi.
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Make in advance and freeze
You can cook the dish in advance and reheat it gently. I would cook the spaghetti just before serving.
Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
You can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat thoroughly before serving.
How to reheat the leftovers?
Leftover spaghetti can be reheated in the microwave and then served with the reheated sauce. If you want to try a different dish using leftover noodles, you can try our delicious Fried Spaghetti.
Reheat on the stovetop:
- Cut spaghetti into slightly smaller pieces, once or twice across, so that you can stir them into the sauce more easily.
- Remove the breasts from the pot.
- Stir the pasta into the sauce to coat and add a splash of water, stock, or milk if the dish seems too dry.
- Return the meat to the pan. To speed things up and to ensure that the chicken reheats evenly, cut it into smaller pieces. Chopping will also help “stretch” the dish, maybe get you one extra serving; it’s easier to divide already cut pieces into several servings.
- Use thinner chicken pieces; they cook faster and more evenly, about ½ inch (1.3 cm) is ok.
- Pounding them with a meat mallet helps flatten them, beat them gently, especially in the middle. Please don’t overdo it, though; you don’t want to break the meat.
- Flatten the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap. Alternatively, place them into a zip-top bag, remove as much air as possible and close the bag. In this case, pound only one or two pieces simultaneously; they should lay in a single layer in the bag.
- If you don’t have a special meat mallet, use a small heavy skillet or a sturdy rolling pin.
- Make sure you cook the onions long enough, until they are soft, before adding the tomatoes. Once you add the tomatoes, the onions will not soften any more.
- Don’t overcook the breasts, or they will become tough. 8-10 minutes, as indicated, should be enough. To be sure, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 165 F/ 74 C.
More easy dinners?
- Easy Margherita Flatbread Pizza
- Creamy Tahini Pasta
- Quick Air Fryer Turkey Burger
- Fast American Chop Suey Recipe
- Easy Chicken Fajita Tacos
Easy Chicken Pomodoro Recipe
- nonstick pan or skillet
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts , small, boneless, skinless
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or Kosher (less if using table salt)
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion , medium (yellow, white or red)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or a pinch cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz/ 400 g)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 3 sprigs basil , divided
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt or Kosher, to taste
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- Pound the breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet.
- Mix flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Dredge chicken through the mixture, pat gently to remove excess flour. (Note 1)
- Cook: Heat a large nonstick pan. Add oil. Cook chicken for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a plate.
- Chop onion and set it aside. Chop garlic and set it aside separately.
- Cook: Heat oil in a large saucepan. Cook onion and a small pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, often stirring until soft. Add garlic and red chili flakes, stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, and 2 sprigs of basil, cook for 2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Tuck in the chicken breast, cover, and simmer gently for 8 to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Finish: Remove the cooked basil sprigs from the dish. Chop the leaves of the remaining basil. Sprinkle on top.
- Serve: with spaghetti.
- If serving the chicken with pasta, place a large pot with water on the hob now and add salt and pasta when the water is boiling. Cook according to the packet’s instructions.