Chili-Lime Cream Sauce Pasta with Peri Peri Chicken

Deep white plate with a peri peri chicken grilled chicken thigh on top of a bed of chili-lime cream sauce penne pasta.

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Juicy and crispy Peri Peri seasoned grilled chicken thighs are served on top of chili-lime cream sauce pasta that’s loaded with champignon mushrooms, sweet cherry tomatoes, and encrusted with Grana Padano cheese!



For the Peri Peri Chicken:

  • 3 TBLS Peri Peri (Piri-Piri) Seasoning (I use Cape Herb and Spice Piri-Piri Chilli Seasoning)
  • 1.52 TSP Black Pepper
  • ½ TSP Kosher Salt, to taste (optional and recommended only if your Peri Peri Seasoning does not have salt already included)
  • 2 lbs. Bone-in Chicken Thighs (about 67 pieces) – excess fat trimmed, cleaned, and pat-dried
  • 12 TBLS Olive (or any other cooking oil)

For the Chili-Lime Cream Sauce Pasta:

  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1 TBLS Unsalted Butter
  • 8 ounces uncooked Penne or Penne Rigate Pasta (or any other noodle type/short cut pasta. Use Gluten free or whole-wheat pasta if needed or desired.)
  • 14 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 210 Red Chilies (optional), to taste and deseeded depending on your desired heat level – finely minced
  • 12 Sweet Mini Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • 180200g Champignon Mushrooms (about 89 small-medium sized pieces) – soaked in water, stubs removed, then quartered or thinly sliced
  • 4 Shallots – thinly sliced
  • 3 TSP Lime Zest
  • 300ml Whole Milk
  • 200ml Cooking/Single Cream/Half and Half (or use milk for a lighter version)
  • 1.5 TSP Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1 TSP Black Pepper
  • 1 TSP Crushed Red Chili Pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • 1 TSP ground Cayenne, more or less to taste
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TSP Onion Powder
  • 1 TSP Mint Flakes
  • 1 TSP dried Rosemary
  • 5 TSP freshly squeezed Lime Juice
  • 2 TSP Nando’s Extra Extra Hot PERi PERi Sauce (or choose your desired heat level from their range of sauces – Mild, Medium, or Hot. Their Lemon & Herb and Garlic Sauces taste fantastic too in this pasta if you want to make it milder!)
  • ½¾ cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (freshly grated Parmesan would be great too!)
  • ½1 TSP dried Parsley Flakes (for garnish)



  1. Make the Spice Bowl: Combine all the spices except the parsley flakes in a small bowl and set aside. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a small plate to prevent the spices from being blown everywhere.
  2. Marinate the Chicken: Clean and trim the excess fat on the chicken thighs. Rinse and dry well with paper towels. In a large bowl, combine the Peri-Peri seasoning and black pepper and add the chicken thighs to the bowl. Rub the seasoning mixture on top and under the skin, on the meat underneath the skin, and the back of the chicken thigh too. Set aside.
  3. Fresh Ingredients: Soak the champignon mushrooms in water for a few minutes, rinse and drain well. Remove the stubs and discard (or save to make a soup or broth some other time), then quarter or thinly slice the mushrooms. Chop the garlic, red chilies, cherry tomatoes, and shallots as indicated in the “Instructions”.
  4. Cook the Pasta: Cook the pasta al–dente according to package directions in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and set aside once cooked. (I like to run water over the pasta to prevent it from cooking further.)

For the Peri Peri Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C/350° Heat 1-2 TBLS of olive oil in a large skillet or nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken thighs (3 at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan) skin side down in the pan to brown and crisp up the skin. Fry for 3-4 minutes then use tongs to flip them and fry the other side for another 3-4 minutes. Place the chicken thighs (skin side facing up) on a baking tray lined with foil. Repeat until all the chicken thighs have been cooked in the pan and transferred to the baking tray.
  3. Bake the chicken for 12-13 minutes or until the chicken has fully cooked through. (You can use a thermometer to check if the internal temperature has reached 165°C if you like.) Remove from the oven (but leave the oven on as you will need to use it again to melt the cheese on the pasta later) and set the pan aside.

For the Pasta in Chili Lime Cream Sauce Pasta:

  1. While the chicken is baking in the oven, start the sauce for the pasta. (Note: Make sure to check on the chicken and remove from the oven once cooked even if you’re still making the sauce). Heat 1 TBLS olive oil and 1.5 TBLS of unsalted butter in a large sauté pan over high heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot and the butter has melted and is foaming, add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Add the minced red chilies (if using) and continue sautéing for another minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and lime zest and sauté until the mushrooms have softened – about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and slowly pour in the whole milk and cooking cream. Stir to combine.
  6. Tip in the spices from the spice bowl you made earlier and add the cherry tomatoes, stir to combine with the sauce.
  7. Stir in the Nando’s Peri Peri Extra Extra Hot sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice.
  8. Let the sauce simmer for 4-5 minutes while stirring occasionally, then add the cooked pasta. Stir and toss to coat the pasta well with the sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes longer or until the sauce has reduced and is creamy.
  9. Pour the pasta into a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle Grana Padano cheese over the pasta, then line up the chicken thighs on top of the cheese. Sprinkle parsley flakes on top, then bake in the oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately and enjoy!


  1. To make this gluten-free: Use a gluten-free pasta and double check that the cheese you will be using is GF certified.