If you are in need of a creamy, saucy pasta that also happens to be low in sodium look no further. This recipe for chicken tetrazzini will satisfy those comfort food cravings without blowing your sodium through the roof.
Hey hey hey! We are deep into Fall in Montana, with trees losing leaves and that tell-tale crispness in the air. That makes this morning a perfect day to sit down and get this recipe out to you – especially since it feels like forever since I posted something new. This chicken tetrazzini is something I have had done for a while, but I needed some time to sort through photos, fine tune the recipe, and get things posted.
Rewind to a couple months ago when I found myself standing in the kitchen wondering what to cook for dinner. I don’t typically find myself in this predicament because I am a slightly obsessive about meal planning. Nevertheless, there I was looking the the fridge at chicken and some mushrooms, both of which needed to be used ASAP. I always have things like milk, Swiss cheese, chicken broth, pasta, and spices so I figured I could throw something together without too much hassle. We ended up liking the dinner so much that I decided it was blog-worthy. (By the way when this happens, my first course of action is to immediately sit down and guesstimate all the ingredients and cooking times so that the next time I test it I have some kind of foundation. Nothing is more frustrating that having something awesome and never quite being able to replicate it.)
So there’s the backstory to this low sodium version of chicken tetrazzini. What about cooking tips? This recipe is pretty straightforward. The only tip I would give is to use a heavy bottomed skillet that is not nonstick for this (if you have one). A heavy bottom helps with even heating (great for searing) and any bits that end up sticking to the pan create all those yummy brown bits that lend oh so much flavor to the whole dish. You end up with a richer flavor that can’t quite be replicated with a nonstick skillet.
Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
SODIUM COUNT: 188 mg sodium per serving; 751 mg in the entire recipe
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 2 tsp butter (divided)
- 2 tsp olive oil (divided)
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp white wine (may use water or broth instead)
- 1/3 cup onion (minced)
- 1 large garlic clove (minced)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted chicken broth (we use Swanson)
- 2 cups milk (we use 1%)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 4 slices Swiss cheese* (cut into small pieces)
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, butterfly the chicken breasts and/or pound to about ¼” thickness. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, melt the 1 tsp butter and add 1 tsp olive oil. Immediately add the chicken to the pan and allow it to cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the chicken is very nicely browned and is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and cut into ½” pieces.
Return the skillet to the stove top, and adjust heat to medium-low. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the wine to the mushrooms in skillet and cook for a few seconds. Put the onions and garlic into the skillet and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes, or until the onions and garlic are tender. Remove the mushroom mixture from the skillet and set aside.
Return the skillet to the stove top, and add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil to the pan. When the butter has melted, stir the flour into the butter/oil mixture and cook the flour for 1-2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and milk to the pan, about ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Be sure to let the liquid become hot again before adding more liquid to reduce the risk of lumps.
Once all the liquid has been added, bring it to a low simmer. Stir in the nutmeg and Swiss cheese. Continue to warm on the stovetop until the cheese has melted.
In a large serving bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, chicken, and mushroom mixture. Pour the sauce over the mixture and stir until combined.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION – Yield: 4 servings
Sodium: 187.7 mg, Calories: 530.8, Total Fat: 12.6 g, Saturated Fat: 5.7 g, Cholesterol: 90.8 mg, Carbohydrates: 58.4 g, Fiber: 3.0 g, Sugar: 2.6 g, Protein: 45.8 g.
* The nutritional information is calculated using Sargento Swiss cheese (35 mg sodium per slice). You may use whatever Swiss you like (even grated), but you will want to pay close attention to the sodium count.