CHICKEN AND BACON PASTA WITH SPINACH AND TOMATOES IN GARLIC CREAM SAUCE
Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce – this is one of the best chicken pasta recipes you’ll try! It’s an Italian-inspired recipe with lots of vegetables. Sliced chicken breast and bacon are tossed with veggies and penne pasta in a delicious, creamy, homemade alfredo sauce made with Parmesan cheese. What in the world sounds better than that???
- Use thin chicken breasts.
- Use shredded/grated Parmesan cheese.
- You can use cooked spinach, frozen spinach, or fresh spinach. All will work.
- Make this chicken pasta gluten free. All you need to do is use gluten-free brown-rice penne pasta instead of regular penne. You can also use spelt pasta or spinach pasta. (I only use to cook with Spelt of spinach pasta in Germany)
- 1/2 cup heavy creamy + 1/2 cup milk.
This chicken and bacon pasta recipe is so easy to make and uses such basic ingredients, that you can easily make it on a regular busy weeknight!
Deliciously creamy homemade alfredo sauce perfectly combines all the flavors in this chicken and bacon pasta: garlic, spinach, tomatoes, and lots of spices! So tasty, you might want to double the recipe!
HOW TO COOK CHICKEN
In a large skillet, on high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add chicken breasts and cook on one side on high heat for 1 minute.
While the chicken cooks, sprinkle the uncooked sides of chicken with paprika and Italian seasoning.
Flip the chicken over, and cook on the other side for 1 minute on high heat. Reduce heat to medium, flip the chicken over again and cook, covered, for several more minutes until no longer pink in the center. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep the chicken warm.
To the same pan (but without chicken), on medium heat, add chopped tomatoes, spinach, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1/3 of the chicken (sliced into small strips) and half the bacon (it should be already cooked and drained of fat). Mix everything.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA CREAM SAUCE
Add 1/2 cup heavy creamy + 1/2 cup milk to the skillet and bring to boil. Only after it starts boiling, add Parmesan cheese.
Immediately reduce the sauce to simmer and stir, while simmering, until the cheese melts and makes the sauce creamy, only about 1 minute (at most 2 minutes). Then, immediately remove from heat. Season with more crushed red pepper and salt, if needed.
HOW TO COOK PASTA
- In the mean time, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. To cook pasta al dente (which literally means “to the tooth” or firm to bite) cook pasta about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package instructions.
- If using gluten free pasta, rinse it with cold water after cooking to prevent it from getting mushy.
- If using regular, wheat pasta, do not rinse it with cold water. Rinsing pasta with cold water removes the starch which helps absorb the sauce.
Now, we are about to assemble everything together. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Add remaining half of bacon (already cooked and drained of fat). Season with more salt if necessary. Slice the remaining 2/3 of chicken into thin strips.
Cream sauce absorbs the wonderful flavors from all the ingredients in the recipe, and with every single bite you get all the goodness and all the flavors!
When ready to serve, top the pasta with chicken strips and finely shredded Parmesan cheese. This chicken and bacon pasta recipe is a true comfort food!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN PASTA:
A salad, of course! I would serve a very simple and basic salad (that you don’t even need a recipe for)