Skip the restaurant and don’t even bother with curbside. This recipe for classic Firebirds’ chicken pasta is a perfect copycat, and better yet, it’s super easy to make at home. Tender penne pasta, juicy grilled chicken, and the most incredible, irresistible asiago-chili sauce. Your friends and family would never know you saved money with this restaurant-quality meal!
🥘 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- If you’ve never had Firebirds’ chicken pasta before, believe me when I tell you that you are in for a TREAT! I mean, it’s delicious enough that it’s the namesake dish of Firebirds Wood Fired Grill restaurants, so. What really separates this chicken pasta from other chicken and noodle dishes is the unbelievable asiago-chili sauce. Honestly, I can’t get enough of it, it’s SO good. It has just the right amount of heat and it’s perfectly creamy and it goes so well with the grilled chicken and fresh tomato.
- Firebirds’ chicken pasta is actually super easy to make at home. To save a bunch of time (and money), grab a bag of frozen grilled chicken at the grocery store. Since they’re already cooked, all you have to do is heat them! Of course, you’re welcome to grill fresh chicken specifically for your pasta if you prefer it. Shredded rotisserie chicken would also work well, it just won’t have the grilled flavor.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- If you plan to use frozen grilled chicken breasts in your copycat Firebirds’ chicken pasta, you’ll want to defrost them in the fridge the night before. They’re precooked, so you’ll only need to chop them up, then add them to the sauce to reheat.
- Dairy products are pretty sensitive to heat. So much so that warming them up too quickly can make them curdle or separate. To keep the asiago-chile sauce smooth and perfectly creamy, bring the dairy products to room temperature before you start the recipe! All you have to do is let them sit out on the counter. Don’t set them out too far in advance, though, as you don’t want to take any food-safety chances. Two hours is the max time that perishable foods can safely sit at room temperature (below 90° Fahrenheit).
🍝 More Pasta Dishes You’ll Love
- Lemon Pepper Pasta
- Pasta Napoletana
- Chicken Stroganoff
- Shrimp Carbonara
- Pork Stroganoff
- Turkey Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Alfredo
Firebirds’ Chicken Pasta Copycat Recipe
- 2 small bowls
- large saucepan
- large wooden spoon
- large pot
- tongs (optional)
- serving bowls
For the Asiago-Chili Sauce
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (more or less to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- ⅓ cup white wine (or low-sodium chicken stock)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups half and half (at room temperature, see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup half and half (at room temperature; in addition to 2 cups above; see Notes)
- ⅓ cup grated fresh asiago cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
For the Pasta
- 16 cups water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 pound dry penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 medium grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped, approximately 2 cups)
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon (cooked, crumbled)
- 1 medium red tomato (diced, approximately ¾ cup)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- grated fresh asiago cheese
- Add 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to small bowl. Stir spices together until well blended. Set aside.
- Place large saucepan on stovetop over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and let butter melt, swirling and tilting saucepan occasionally to distribute butter across surface.
- When butter is melted, add 3 cloves garlic and prepared spice blend. Stir to incorporate, then cook, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
- Pour in ⅓ cup white wine and stir to incorporate, scraping up any garlic that may have stuck to bottom of saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until wine is reduced by 50%.
- Remove saucepan from heat and let cool slightly. Add 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock and 2 cups half and half. Stir to incorporate, then return saucepan to stovetop and increase heat to medium-high.
- When mixture begins to boil gently, immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer mixture 4 to 5 minutes.
- While mixture simmers, add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and ¼ cup half and half to small bowl. Whisk ingredients together until combined.
- After simmering sauce mixture 4 to 5 minutes, slowly add flour mixture to saucepan, whisking constantly until flour mixture is fully incorporated into sauce.
- Simmer sauce mixture 5 minutes or until thickened, then remove saucepan from heat and let cool slightly.
- Add ⅓ cup grated fresh asiago cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil. Whisk until cheese is melted and fully incorporated, then set saucepan aside.
- Fill large pot with 16 cups water and place pot on stovetop over medium-high heat. Bring water to rolling boil, then stir in 1 tablespoon sea salt.
- Allow water to resume boiling, then add 1 pound dry penne pasta and stir to incorporate. Cook pasta according to directions on pasta packaging. Once pasta is al dente, pour water and pasta into colander and drain well. Set pasta aside.
- Return empty pot to stovetop and reduce heat to low. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and continue heating pot until butter has melted, swirling and tilting pot occasionally to distribute butter across surface.
- Once butter is melted, add 2 medium grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped) and 2 slices thick-cut bacon (cooked, crumbled) to pot. Stir to incorporate, then simmer in butter, stirring occasionally, until chicken and bacon are hot. Be careful not to overcook proteins.
- Once chicken and bacon are heated through, transfer prepared asiago-chile sauce to pot. Return prepared penne to pot and gently stir all ingredients together until well incorporated and completely coated in sauce.
- Portion chicken pasta into serving bowls. Top each portion with diced tomato and thinly sliced green onions. If desired, sprinkle additional grated fresh asiago cheese over pasta and serve immediately.
- Grilled Chicken: If using frozen grilled chicken, be sure to defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before starting this recipe.
- Dairy Products: Heating dairy products too quickly can cause them to curdle or separate. Adding cold or cool dairy products to hot mixtures can have the same results. Be sure to bring your half and half, asiago cheese, and butter to room temperature before starting this recipe.
Recipe costs provided are approximate. Actual cost per recipe & serving will vary by location, store, brand, etc. Approximate cost shown does not include costs for any optional ingredients.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes. Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used. To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.