Chicken and Bowties Pasta with Sage and Nutmeg

Ready to welcome fall in style? This Chicken and Bowties Pasta dish, rich with sage and nutmeg, creamy and delicious is a perfect addition to your fall table.

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Chicken and Bowties Pasta | Life as Mom

I love fall. It’s one of the best things about the Midwest. And the one thing that I miss since moving back to California.

The weather is turning just a bit now here in San Diego. Well, at least the leaves are falling. It’s been cool enough to wear a sweatshirt some mornings, which I love. It’s hard for me to decide, honestly. I did so enjoy our summer beach days.

If I can’t enjoy traditional fall weather, at least I can indulge in fall foods.

One of the great things about fall is the food: soups, braises, creamy pastas, pies, and lot of baked goods. I’m ladening our table with Pumpkin Scones, Apple Turnovers, and this Chicken and Bowties Pasta.

This Chicken and Bowties recipe is one that I’ve been making for over 20 years, since we were newlyweds. A friend made it for me on a weekend visit, and it quickly became a regular in our meal rotation. It’s perfect for fall when tomato season is winding down. Since it combines both sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, you can swing it either way, depending on the season.

Psst. You’ll want to make it year-round.

This dish is a little addictive. Making it on a weekly basis that first year – ahem – we learned a few key things about it: fresh tomatoes are better added at the very end not cooked in the sauce, and you cannot omit the nutmeg.

My husband, Bryan, doesn’t typically care for nutmeg in pasta recipes. (Martha, we tried mac and cheese your way, and it just didn’t work!) But, this dish really needs the nutmeg. Combined with the cream, woodsy sage, chicken, and sweet and tart tomatoes, the nutmeg really adds something. The whole dish screams of fall!

So, don’t omit the nutmeg. Even if it sounds weird.


How I make this good:

Whenever possible, I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)

This recipe has no processed ingredients, just real food. I like that. You can use gluten-free or whole wheat pasta if you prefer. And you can substitute half and half for the heavy cream, but it’s worth the little indulgence.

How to make this cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Meal plan around what’s on sale. Don’t decide to make this when chicken is $7/pound  and you have none in the freezer.
  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on chicken, I buy a lot. The same goes for cream or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Use less expensive alternatives to pricey ingredients. I love true parmigiano reggiano, but it’s often pretty pricey. Using romano or asiago offers me a less expensive alternative.
  • Do a price comparison. I know that Trader Joe’s is the best place to buy ingredients like pasta or chicken when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. Costco is where it’s at for heavy cream. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where.

(If you don’t already do so, consider following Good Cheap Eats, my food blog, where I regularly share money-saving tips and budget-friendly recipes.)

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

This is a pretty straight-forward dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment. However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in advertising fees. Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it.

What’s your favorite fall recipe?

Chicken and Bowties Pasta | Life as Mom

Originally published September 18, 2008. Updated October 8, 2016.

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  1. This is an easy recipe and I love its cheesy and hot goodness!

    Twice Baked Potatoes

    3 potatoes
    1/8 cup butter
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 beaten egg
    1/2 Tbsp. salt
    Grated cheddar

    Preheat oven to 425F. Bake potatoes for 1 hour. Cut potatoes in half (lengthwise) and scoop out innards. Mash in bowl and add sour cream, butter, egg, and salt. Refill skins with mixture and cover with cheese and paprika. Bake at 350F until cheese melts.

  2. JessieLeigh says:

    Yum, that sounds delicious! I love pasta dishes.

    This is not particularly helpful since I don't have the recipe, but my mom makes a Chicken with Wine & Cheese dish that uses sherry and swiss cheese and heavy cream to create an amazing sauce. I crave that, and my dad's French Onion Soup, whenever the temps dip!

  3. Robin, the potatoes sound yummy.

    Umm, JessieLeigh, I think it’s time to call your parents!

  4. Yes, FishMama the pumpkin spice latte tastes like pumpkin pie. It is decadence in a mug. Thanks for commenting over at Thirsty Thursday.

  5. One of my favorites is my pumpkin-apple butter. I cook it in the crock-pot (instead of on the stove) until it is very hot and then ladle into canning jars and I freze it.

    Pumpkin – Apple Butter

    2 cans 15 oz each of pure pumpkin
    2 c unsweetened applesauce
    2/3 c packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 t ginger
    1 t each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg

    Stir all ingredients together in heavy saucepan until blended. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching. 30 minutes or until mixture is very thick. Cool spoon into containters. Cover and refrigerate.

    This is really good on muffins, pancakes and waffles for a healthy alternative to syrups. I make it in the crock-pot and it freezes well so I make a triple match most of the time.

  6. Your dinner sounds delicious. My family would just love it. I have it bookmarked to try soon. Thanks!

  7. JessieLeigh says:

    Honestly? My mom has sent me that chicken recipe at least a half a dozen times and I can never seem to find it. It’s embarrassing and I’m usually kind of freaky-organized… I have long since decided that will just have to be a dish I enjoy when I get to spend some autumn in Connecticut… (which beats the pants off autumn in Indiana if you ask me- gorgeous trees and hills!)

  8. Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead says:

    This recipe sounds amazing…and I have everything in the house! I’ll have to try this in my meal plan next week. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Totallyscrappy says:


    Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 pan.

    3 eggs, beaten
    15 oz can pumpkin
    12 oz can evaporated milk
    1/8 tsp salt
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 t ground ginger
    1 T vanilla
    1 boxed yellow cake mix
    1 1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 cup pecans, chopped

    Mix the eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, salt, sugar, spices and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Pour the dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the cobbler and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

    (I adjusted the recipe just a bit… I added a bit of ground cloves to the pumpkin mixture and I found that it had to bake about another 10 minutes, so watch this while it bakes!)


    1 15 oz can pumpkin
    1 small box of instant vanilla pudding (powder)
    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1 container whipped topping (“lite” works)

    Mix all this stuff in a bowl and use graham cracker sticks, ginger snaps and green apple slices for “dippers.”

  10. totallyscrappy – Yum! Your Pumpkin Fluff sounds delicious. I have a Pumpkin Pudding recipe, but it creates a heavier dessert. I think I might have to try this one.

  11. All these recipes are getting me in the baking mood! I love fall too!

    Thanks for hosting this cause I am getting some more new recipes to try! 🙂

  12. Thanks for hosting this. I’m gonna love checking out all these recipes.

    I posted a recipe for apple cider syrup for the swap.

  13. Hey! Could you substitute whole milk or evaporated milk for the heavy cream in this recipe? Half and half even? I usually don’t have heavy cream on hand…

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