Zio's Italian is my favorite to-go place for a dinner in downtown OKC with friends. It's a chain restaurant and doesn't serve the absolute best food in the area, but it's cheap and they never have a bad night. When you walk into the restaurant, you know you'll get a pretty tasty meal. Each time I visit the place, I order the spinach artichoke pasta without fail. Penne pasta is topped with creamy alfredo sauce flavored by spinach, artichoke, cheese, and garlic; strips of grilled chicken complete the plate. I'm such a big enthusiastic for this dish that I've even converted others. My mom and I take turns ordering this dish whenever we go out to Zio's.

When I was feeling adventurous and charitable on Sunday evening, I decided to make dinner for my parents and recreate my favorite pasta dish at home. I browsed around the internet for a recipe for "spinach pasta," but none of the search results were what I was looking for. So I took a spinach-artichoke dip recipe and adapted it to go with pasta rather than pita chips or crackers.


  • olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 8 ounces of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 jar of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
  • 13 ounces of whole-wheat penne pasta
I used enough oil to coat the bottom of a 10-inch skillet and heated it while mincing the garlic cloves. I threw them in the hot oil along with the baby spinach and frozen vegetables. I let them cook for a bit before pouring the Alfredo sauce into the pan. Once the sauce started bubbling, I added the two different cheeses.

While the sauce simmered, I washed and chopped the tenderloins into chunks. I put them into the sauce and let it cook for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I boiled the pasta in a separate pot. Once everything was cooked, I tossed the pasta with sauce.

This was a pretty easy dish to put together, and it was comparable to my favorite at Zio's. The whole-wheat pasta wasn't soft enough to my liking. Zio's doesn't use whole-wheat pasta, but I wanted to try it out. I feel that the whole-wheat pasta doesn't mesh well with the sauce. I probably will use regular ol' pasta next time.

I topped the pasta with little zucchini chips. I got the recipe off of my friend Allie's new cooking blog. They are very good, so if you want try these things out, head on over to her site!


  1. Sharona May said...

    Looks very good! I am a big fan of a creamy pasta sauce.

    Sharona May  

  2. Cecilia said...

    Thank you for your comment, Sharona! I hope you'll think about giving this recipe a try; if you do, let me know how it goes for you.  

  3. rebekka said...

    Ooh! Zucchini chips on pasta sounds perfect!