This Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi recipe is just like the real thing! Chicken tenders are tossed with bell peppers and onion in a scampi sauce with pasta.
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Chicken scampi pasta is one of my favorites when I want something outside of the cream, tomato, or pesto categories. And the restaurant classic was always delicious. I wanted to make it for my own! And I am pretty proud of how this one turned out.
This chicken pasta is made with chicken tenders, colored bell peppers, and red onion. It is tossed with angel hair pasta at the restaurant, but you could easily use any pasta you want (longer shapes are best here!). The sauce is a tangy, buttery, garlic sauce that was tricky to replicate.
How close is this Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi to the real thing?
I played around with trying to create the Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Scampi recipe for a while. There are so many variations out there: cream or no cream? Lemon or no lemon? Wine? Thicken with flour? But ultimately this is the version I landed on and when I tried it side by side with the real thing via takeout, WOW. It is pretty darn close.
So now that I have a good Olive Garden copycat recipe, I have a new dilemma of trying not to make it too often just like my Copycat Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo. Definitely a love-hate relationship and a balance of having access to something so yummy and not going overkill with it. And it is SO good that I also made the Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Scampi for you to try!
The Olive Garden chicken has a light coating on it which I tried a few variations of as well, such as dredging with eggs, etc. But just one pass in flour proved to be the most accurate. It gives it a light and thing crust without density. I hope you love making this at home as much as I do!
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Salt the water to your preference and add the pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce later). Save 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Prepare the Chicken
- While the water is heating, start your chicken. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil
- While heating, put the flour in a shallow dish with a pinch of salt. Coat each chicken piece on all sides in the flour, shaking to remove excess flour.
- When the pan and oil are hot, cook the chicken until just golden brown on each side, approximately 5-7 minutes per side. Repeat with all chicken, adding more oil as needed. Set the chicken aside.
Make the Scampi Sauce
- As you are working on batches of chicken, make your sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter until melted.
- Add the onion and garlic to the butter and cook until just soft but not brown, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and simmer to burn off some of the alcohol and reduce 2 minutes. Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot while simmering.
- Add the chicken stock, lemon juice, parsley, and crushed red pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the remaining 8 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) of butter until incorporated. Set aside.
Vegetables and Assembly
- Put the large pot from the pasta back on the stove (or a new large pot - but one less thing to clean!). Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the peppers and onion and cook until just beginning to soften, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Add the pasta and sauce to the pot. Gently toss to coat and combine (be very gentle to help prevent the pasta from breaking - once the pasta meets the warm sauce, it will start to loosen up and unstick). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use the pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce and make it saucier as desired.
- Serve the pasta in one large dish or as individual portions. Place the pieces of chicken on top.