Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

Coffee Parm Pasta

Coffee and pasta, or especially coffee and chicken parm with penne, might seem like a weird combination to you, but wait – let me explain! I love cooking with coffee, and I think the bitterness goes so well with a lot of Italian dishes. Coffee and ricotta is also a good pairing because coffee goes great with creamy things. Coffee and parmesan cheese is even better cause coffee goes great with salty things!

Where the idea came from

The last time I made pasta flavored with coffee was a long time ago. I was talking about that recipe recently and wanted to try a coffee pasta again but with less crazy techniques involved. That one had lots of seafood and smoked scallops, and the pasta itself was cooked in coffee! That was all way too much. It came out awesome but was it worth it? I was also craving breaded chicken at the time, and I know parmesan goes really well with coffee so that’s where the bulk of the recipe inspiration came from.

Breading the chicken

Your standard breading station. I went about 50/50 breadcrumbs to cheese. I double breaded these, so after the flour, egg, breadcrumbs they went back into the egg and breadcrumbs again.

Breading station

Really try and press the chicken into the breading to make it stick and form a thick coating! If you need more instructions for breading chicken and making chicken parm, check out this guide.

Frying the chicken

I love making chicken parm cause you can shallow fry the cutlets. You don’t need to deep fry anything! Just about a half inch of oil in the pan and cook it high on both sides for a few minutes.

frying the chicken

Make the coffee sauce

An onion with some butter in the pan. Get the onions nicely caramelized so the sweetness pairs well with the bitter coffee.

Onions to start the sauce

The onion is cooked way down to a golden brown, then the poblano pepper goes in followed closely by lots of garlic. Then the coffee!

Peppers, onions and coffee!

The pasta is added to the coffee right as it comes out of the boiling water. Finally some ricotta, lots of parm, and a little milk round out the sauce. The ricotta melts into the pasta and pairs so well with the coffee! Nothing goes better with coffee than cream!

Ricotta and lots of parm to finish the Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

Serving the coffee chicken parm penne

Load the bowl with the tasty coffee pasta and top it with a few strips of chicken. So good!

Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

This pasta has a subtle bitter coffee flavor happening but it is balanced well by the sweet and savory onions, and all the creamy and sharp cheese. The chicken is tender and juicy and is a great crunchy balance to the creamy pasta.

Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

The parsley adds a nice fresh flavor to this savory and bitter dish.

Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

Twists on Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

This coffee chicken parm penne would also be great with spaghetti instead! Actually whatever pasta you want to use would probably work.

If you love putting coffee into savory meals, check out my coffee berbere braised beef tacos, or my coffee carbonara.

Coffee Chicken Parm Penne

A creamy coffee flavored pasta topped with parmesan crusted chicken
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Mash-Up, pasta
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 1379kcal



  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1.5 cups breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 3/4 cup grated parm
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • salt and pepper


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1 pound mini penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated parm
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  • slice each chicken breast in half horizontally so that you end up with two thinner chicken breasts.
  • One at a time, put the chicken on a cutting board on top of a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Top with another sheet. Pound out the chicken gently to make it thinner and a uniform thickness throughout.
  • Set up a breading station with a shallow plate of flour, one of the beaten eggs, and a third with the breadcrumbs, parsley, and cheese mixed. Season each bowl with salt and pepper.
  • Bread the chicken by first coating with the flour, then the egg, and then the bread, each time shaking off the excess. Press the breading into the chicken. Repeat with one more coating of egg and then breadcrumbs, so – flour – egg – bread – egg – bread.
  • Heat a pan with about 1/2 inch of olive oil. Pan fry the chicken on both sides until browned and crispy.
  • Preheat the oven to 170. Put the chicken onto a sheet pan with a rack. Put it into the oven about 15 minutes before the pasta is ready to warm up.
  • Bring water to a boil for pasta.
  • Get the butter in a large pan on medium heat and add the onions. Salt well and cook for about 30 minutes until browned.
  • Add the poblano pepper and cook another 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Pour in the coffee.
  • At this point drop the pasta into the boiling water. (you can put the chicken in the oven too)
  • Let the coffee mixture simmer while the pasta cooks. When the pasta is done, strain and add directly from the cooking water to the sauce.
  • Remove from heat and add in the ricotta and parm. Stir well. Add milk as needed to thin it out and make it creamy.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and slice. Put the pasta in a bowl and top with the chicken. Sprinkle on parsley and serve.


Calories: 1379kcal | Carbohydrates: 175g | Protein: 79g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 285mg | Sodium: 1560mg | Potassium: 1194mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1452IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 833mg | Iron: 8mg

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